September 14, 2020 Finntroll – Vredesvävd (Album Review)
With the world in upheaval, and most borders still closed due to COVID-19, it has become a challenge to absorb any outside culture. From a live music stand point, concerts are few and far between. However, from an overall musical standpoint, 2020 has been a good year for bands to lock into the studio, resulting in some of the greatest recordings in some time. Which leads us to Finland’s Finntroll, who after 7 long years, is finally set to release their new album, Vredesvävd, on Friday, September 18th via Century Media Records.
Forming back in 1997, Finntroll is one of the most respected bands of their style. Sustaining a few bumps in the roads through the years, despite the rough waters, the current lineup – Trollhorn (keyboards/orchestrations/guitars/banjo/ mouth harp), Tundra (bass), Skrymer (guitars), Routa (guitar), Vreth (vocals), Virta (keyboards), anfd MörkÖ (drums) – are making a very solid comeback. For Vredesvävd, their seventh overall studio album, they offer ten tracks of unique Folk Metal. Sticking to their signature sound, by mixing in Black Metal elements with symphonic leads, they create a witty, fun environment that tell wild tales about the fantastical world of trolls.
Starting off with “Väktaren,” which translates in English to “the guard,” Finntroll implement their well-known tactics of symphonic build up. Brought forth in a serine fashion, the operatic sounding chorus chimes in at interspersed moments adding anticipation for what is yet to come. Then, “Att Döda Med En Sten” brings in the speedier side of dark toned Black Metal amidst the vocals and guitar riffs. A unique mix of happy Folk vibes with the darkness of Black Metal, like most of Finntroll’s music, it exudes a very comfortable spirit into your eardrum.
Moving right along, “Orfmolk” shines its bright light into the pit of despair with great melodic enthusiasm. This is while “Gränars Väg” gifts more of the same wildly enthusiastic dark Folk Metal for three and a half minutes of one of the most memorable sections on the album. Then comes the inexplicable energy of “Vid Häxans Härd,” which leads to a great triumph over what can only be presumed as an evil entity. With all this, Vredesvävd still remains interesting, with the catchy, fun-balanced “Stjärnors Mjöd.” Featuring some great percussion elements, it even has some very Black Metal troll sounding vocals for extra intrigue. Which leads us to “Ylaren,” the well-executed finale filled with vibrancy and sinful joy.
Now, while English speaking listeners might not be able to absorb all of Finntroll’s lyrics, they can still soak their feet in the vibe of retribution and determination of the music itself. Making the listening experience even more effective, Symphonic Black Metal and Folk Metal are equally capable of crafting compelling musical stories, and fortunately, Finntroll excel at blending both in a fairly seamless manner.
All these factors in mind, Vredesvävd holds up among the top Finntroll albums; although some might argue that it would near impossible to top 2007’s Ur Jordens Djup. Nonetheless, this is a great collection of new songs that comes at just the right time. Perhaps 2021 will even bring us some Finntroll live performances; we can only hope. Until then, crank up Vredesvävd to 11, because Cryptic Rock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.