Sound — 6
It's trollish, we'll give them that. Like any of the so-called pagan metal acts, Finntroll fuse the ultra corrosive speed and ferocity of death metal with traditional Finnish folk and the result is almost cartoon-like. It's an atypical pairing, that's for sure! The songs ping-pong back and forth between chilling and creepy death metal to goofy and larger than life, thanks to the keyboards and folk elements. Some parts are scary, while other parts are funny and chuckle inducing, such as the galloping guitars and what sounds like a folksy gang vocal on Solsagan. Another example of alternately goofy and creepy is Ett Norrskensdad. Nifelvind is the equivalent of music bipolar disorder, with moods shifting several times within a song and dozens of times over the course of the album. These are certainly battle ready anthems, but I can't help but find myself giggling and I am not sure that's the intended reaction. Songs such as Tradens Song are uplifting, in parts, and the keys provide an upbeat contrast and foil to the death parts. It's almost like you are listening to a moving carnival, if you can imagine exactly what that sounds like. On paper, this will definitely elicit a What the f--k? reaction. In your ears, it will still generate such as response, but for those who enjoy such an odd and non-seamless mix, this will sound as metal as fuck to you. It just doesn't work for me.
Lyrics — 7
Finntroll are part of a Finnish minority that actually speaks (and sings) in the Swedish tongue. Of course, the use of a foreign language for the vocals and lyrics adds to the music's otherworldly sound and dimension. These songs are reportedly rich in history, but since I don't speak Swedish, it is lost on me, unless I do some research, which down the road, I just may do. I certainly encourage you to do some homework, as that will enhance your enjoyment of what Finntroll are doing. It is to Finntroll's benefit to sing in their sorta mother language, because it only serves to add another cultural element to this music, which sounds like a mix of modern metal and music from a period in history that ended thousands of years ago. The band is not if not effective in achieving that goal.
Overall Impression — 6
I don't know what to make of Finntroll and Nifelvind. Sometimes I want to hate it. Other times, I giggle at it. Then I think, wow, where did these dudes get the idea to fuse such disparate styles, even though they probably don't consider them quite so disparate? It really is a style that is for a vocal minority. It's not what I choose to listen to on repeat on the iPod because it doesn't sound quite so cohesive to me after multiple listens. I tried, for the Troll! It doesn't leaving me scratching my head. It just doesn't do it for me.