I feel like I should preface this review by saying that this is based on multiple listens and would advise you to do the same if you’re not used to the wonderful world of TrollfesT. I was given this album to review with the warning that they’re “a tad batty” and, being vaguely aware of their music already, I’d come to expect nothing less. As with their previous efforts, the lyrics are based around the troll universe but this time it’s based around the titular character Brumblebassen, the village beekeeper who collects the honey to make mead, which explains some of the more unusual sound effects at least. The songs also give “an update on life in the troll village and deliver stories of friendship, love, feasting, fighting, slaying and adventure, and insects”. I really wish I was making this up.
From the very first track you realise how this is going to go down. It starts with a lovely acoustic intro before exploding into madness, which in TrollfesT’s case is an anything goes folk metal opus. It’s got everything you’d expect from the genre with 78% added madness with fairground music, oompah and anything else they could cram in. The album’s actually incredibly well balanced. If it was all sheer insanity it would actually get quite grating by the half-way point, if you’re particularly patient, but it’s the musical interludes and moments of clarity that bring the whole thing together as a coherent piece of work. It does fall in the heavier end of the folk metal spectrum, with the band clearly preferring to scream their lungs out rather than sitting back and being melodic and there’s nothing wrong with that but that’s not to say that there aren’t melodic moments – there are, so your face won’t completely melt off.
It’s far too easy to focus on how weird and wonderful the whole thing is and lose track of the fact that it is a very good album, that the band are accomplished musicians and that, while a little off kilter, the songs are well structured, performed and produced. Only a masochist would want to listen to three quarters of an hour of the ramblings of the insane if there was no musical value to back it up. The fact that they’re (hopefully) not taking this whole metal thing too seriously is surely just an added bonus.
Review by Siân Williams
27th August 2012
2) Böse Tivoli
5) Finsken, Norsken and Presten
6) Mystisk Maskert
7) Apis Mellifera
9) Verboten Kjærleik
11) Sellout; 12) Rundt Bålet
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"If it was all sheer insanity it would actually get quite grating by the half-way point...but it’s the musical interludes and moments of clarity that bring the whole thing together as a coherent piece of work."