Having been a massive fan of Finntroll for absolutely years, I was always going to be excited for the release of their new album, Blodsvept. Progress for the writing and recording process was documented via an incredibly detailed and interesting blog written by keyboardist and ‘band mastermind’ Henri Sorvali (aka Trollhorn), and it spanned all the way from the songwriting process to the mixing of the album. It took us through all sorts of drama, including disagreements about how the songs sounded and the drama of losing nearly all the guitar tracks due to a computer error (thus resulting in them having to rerecord them and winding up behind schedule) so when I finally got the CD in my hands, it almost felt like it was a miracle because events such as those could have broke less-determined bands.
Luckily, it was worth all the hassle. It’s a bit of a grower, sure, but still a very strong release all the same.
The album opens fairly strongly with title track Blodsvept. This track had been released to the public prior to the album release and it sure is a catchy one. The drums are fantastic on this, and the keys are wonderfully bouncy and complement the guitars perfectly. It’s definitely the right choice for the opener, and it leads well into the second track, Ett Folk Förbannat, which is another good one. The keys on this track are second to none, despite there being a short solo in it that sounds almost identical to their track Rivfader, and the song as a whole is incredibly satisfying.
Mordminnen is one of the best songs of the album. Funky and bouncy, this song sounds like it has been made for a live environment and the kazoo line is phenomenal! It’s a fun party song that will surely be in their set for years to come. Rösets Kung, which also happens to be a myriad of Finnish talent, keeps the pace going and not only is this the best track of the album, it also has a wonderful vocal section courtesy of bassist Tundra. He is accompanied by the “drunken boys choir” which consists of various members of Moonsorrow, and in addition to this, the song also features a violin line from Olli Vänskä, the violinist of Turisas, which fits the song absolutely perfectly. This is the catchiest track by far and certainly one I can see myself listening to on a loop. This track is the true epitome of what Finntroll is.
Something I’ve noticed with Finntroll is that their albums tend to “dip” in the middle – something that has been especially evident with their last few releases – and Blodsvept falls victim to this as well. Skövlarens Död sounds like an unfortunate mashup of several different ideas, with none of the sections matching as well as they could. This song also features a complicated guitar solo which sounds out of place, which is unfortunate because there was a lot of problems with it due to the “complexity” of it.
After the mess that was Skövlarens Död, it is certainly refreshing to hear Skogsdotter, which is a bit of a masterpiece due to the varied instrumentation in it. The drums are impressive on this one and there’s a lot of energy throughout the whole track. There’s a lot going in on this and it’s almost a little like there is too much to take in at once because of the amount of variety in it! It leads rather nicely into the first single of the album, Häxbrygd, which is another fun-sounding track that features some magnificent saxophone playing. The song is technically great and has a superb arrangement, and the vocals from Vreth at the start are pretty awesome, sounding a lot more “trollish” than previous efforts.
The album ends on a somewhat epic note with slower song Midvinterdraken, which is also the longest track of the album. Sometimes, slower songs don’t work at the end of albums, as it’s always good hearing an album going out with a bang, but this one is quietly epic and adds a lot to an overall awesome album. The only problem is that it just fades away quietly, which isn’t the most satisfying of endings to an overall kickass album, but other than that, Blodsvept is a pretty damn good release.
Extremely worth the hassle they went through to get it out there.