It’s been 7 years since legendary Finnish pagan metal band FINNTROLL released their latest studio album, “Blodsvept” (2013), but at long last, fans are finally getting some new material! The upcoming release, entitled “Vredesvävd,” is set for release on August 14th, 2020, via Century Media Records. It goes without saying, but this album has been heavily anticipated by a lot of people all around the world. Read our interview with Vreth here.
FINNTROLL fans are occasionally divided between the harsher, more black/extreme metal -influenced sound and the more bouncy, folky, experimental style. On many FINNTROLL albums you have harsh songs like “Korpens Saga” alongside wildly fun pieces like “En Mäktig Har,” or “Solsagan” and “Under Bergets Rot.” The list goes on. However, “Blodsvept” was a bit unusual in the sense that it fused many of the extreme and pagan/folk elements together, making bits of both ever-present on every song on the album. On top of that was the inclusion of the steampunk style via the inclusion of brass, which has fans wildly divided. Comparing “Vredesvävd” to their past material in this regard, it has a similar blended extreme pagan metal sound to its predecessor, including the a healthy dose of folk fun, and is very consistent throughout… only without that pesky brass (only kidding – “Blodsvept” is one of my personal favorite FINNTROLL albums).
The intro is very cinematic and trollish, reminiscent at times of the score from the mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, though softens a bit before returning to the epic movie-like soundscape as it builds up, leading to “Att Döda Med En Sten.” The first official track opens with cavernous, trolly keyboards by Virta, quickly followed by drums, and then punches into a more extreme sound. The whole band is at full force for the first few tracks, with everyone pulling their weight. Mörkö‘s drums are fierce and punchy, while Vreth‘s screams are as harsh as ever. “Ormfolk” is a nice blend of FINNTROLL‘s harsh side with some peppy, folky fun. The phantom mentioned feeling “at home” with some of the riffs, suggesting that perhaps they were a bit too similar to some of FINNTROLL‘s past material, to which I agree; while it’s good, it isn’t their most innovative track.
“Gränars Väg” has a stripped-down, folky intro, before leaping into something more harsh. The vocals seem a bit mushy in the mix, though it may have been intentional so as not to foreground them over the rest of the instruments and to keep a grittier, not-too-polished overall feel to the production. Some of the best guitar parts feel like pure classic ’90s heavy metal. “Forsen” has some really great folky interludes and that kind of evocative feel of a big troll (or foe) approaching. It’s lurky but not slow-tempo, and has a mischievous air to it as the rhythm section keeps things ominous.
An acoustic intro opens “Vid Häxans Härd,” before thundering back into heavy metal. “Myren” is an easy party moshpit song that fans will certainly love to hear (meaning: go apeshit to) live, while “Stjärnornas Mjöd” is less batshit crazy and more intense heavy metal with its dynamic pauses, dancing around vibrantly as the guitar riff bounces here and there.
The final full song, “Ylaren” is maybe the most original-sounding song, with an unusual and non-standard FINNTROLL riffing style and a generally unique feel compared to a lot of the other material. A very mischievous sound is present in the “Outro”; for some reason, whenever we listened, it seemed as though someone had turned the volume up really loudly for some time and then turned it back down. Hopefully that’s a promo error and didn’t make it’s way to the finished product.
“Vredesvävd” is one of those interesting albums that comes later in a band’s discography, yet is perfect to use for introducing the band to new potential fans. The sound maintains a lot of the band’s harsher elements, with near ever-present influences from both pagan and extreme/black metal, without pushing too hard in either direction the way like most of their past material. The lively folky bounce of “Blodsvept” is still present but they’ve fully abandoned the steampunk-y brass sound (for better or for worse); as such, we’re left with a completely solid album that sounds great from start to finish, though if you were to look through FINNTROLL‘s discography, you’d find individual songs on every other album that better than nearly anything “Vredesvävd” has to offer. So while this new release is perhaps one of the most consistent works that these Finns have put out, it’s also very familiar to their existing sound and only pushes for something innovative in one song (“Ylaren”). Was it worth the wait? That fully depends on if you wanted to hear FINNTROLL doing a great job of the sound they’ve been developing all these years, or if you wanted to hear them pushing the envelope and trying new things. Either way, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t be another 7 years before their next release!
Written by Bear Wiseman
- Att Döda Med En Sten
- Gränars Väg
- Vid Häxans Härd
- Stjärnornas Mjöd
Vreth – vocals
Skrymer – guitars
Routa – guitars
Trollhorn – guitars, keyboards (studio only)
Virta – keyboards
Tundra – bass
Mörkö – drums
Century Media Records