Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Children of the Cave

Finntroll – Nattfodd

If you've ever heard the term 'polka metal' before, you probably thought it was a joke. Well I am pleased to inform you that Nattfodd proves that it is very real indeed. The genre of folk metal combines black metal with traditional music of the band's country of origin (or at least that of a country they think is really cool) and in Finntroll's case this is traditional Finnish polka, which is not dissimilar to the kind of oompah music you might hear in a German beer hall.

Now you're forgiven if you think that this sounds like a totally retarded idea, but give it a chance because I assure you that it's actually pretty fucking awesome and there is more to Finntroll than just this goofy gimmick. The only reason that it works at all is because the band are skilled songwriters and they wring a lot of variety and musical ideas from the starting point of the two vastly dissimilar genres and also by including ambient and acoustic interludes.

Where most black metal is laden with a mood of doom and despair, Finntroll's take is more upbeat so that when the evil sounding tremolo strumming morphs into a happy polka lick and is joined by a perky accordian and horns it fits naturally, and in fact the whole album is loads of fun to listen to and is dare I say it even joyous, an adjective that is almost inconceivable to apply to black metal.

While black metal traditionally deals with themes of evil and the occult, Finntroll's lyrics are occupied with far more accessible subjects, such as being a troll, living in the forest and drinking lots of beer. In fact their innocent, cheerful celebration of nature and the simple life is a nice counterpoint to say Burzum's morbid evocation of the Scandinavian wilderness as the grim, frostbitten, 'whites only' abode of Satan.

Get past the ridiculous concept and you'll find that this album is great fun. It's definitely what I'd have playing in my beer hall!

Here's the unnecessarily slo-moed video for 'Trollhammaren':

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