Review Summary: With Nifelvind, these Finnish trolls bring us catchy and goofy folk metal, and even if it’s a bit too flippant, it is most certainly fun to listen to
, Finntroll promised to bring us their most mature and refined record yet. After listening to it, I must say that Finntroll’s understanding of "mature" is definitely unique, as this may sound mature to Finntroll, but to everyone else, Nifelvind
sounds like Finntroll always have - goofy folk metal that changes between galloping rhythms and slower, more vocal-based tracks.
When I heard Finntroll’s new single "Solsagan", I considered myself officially pumped for this record, as "Solsagan" is the best folk metal song I’ve heard so far during this year (it’s only possibly rivaled by Metsatoll’s "Vaid Vaprust"). The bad news is that it’s the best tune on the album. The good news is that other tracks are still good, even if they aren’t as great as "Solsagan". What I love most about these guys, is their tendency to mix entertaining, cartoon-like sounds into their overall folk metal sound. On this album, they may be a bit overdone, as on more than one occasion they entirely bury everything else, but their usage is something that makes Finntroll stand out in the crowd. The best example of this is the song "Under Bergets Rot", which has some Ensiferum-esque guitarlines (played a bit slower that Ensiferum does, though), but also has some goofy accordion lines and fun percussion. The orchestration backing up most of the tracks is also kind of fun, but it’s also of disservice, as it may, and most likely will become tedious when giving the album repeated spins.
As for the overall arrangements, I feel this album could have done with more guitar punch. The guitars are unexpectedly low in the mix, greatly overshadowed by the vox and orchestration. I feel that Finntroll were trying too hard to sound fun, and forgot to mix things properly. As it stands now, the listener will remember this album after goofy tunes and good orchestration, but not by much else. Taking into account Finntroll are presenting themselves under the black/folk metal label, this album lacks a good punch to the groin. Nifelvind
is like the classic Tom and Jerry cartoon, where the cat always chases the mouse, but never decisively catches him for the disappointment of the viewer; it’s the same deal with guitars here – this album is fun to listen to, but after a good amount of tracks, you really wish a flashy, protuberant guitarline would come already. Still, while I do break songs into bits and pieces when I'm reviewing albums, it must be noted that even though guitars aren't as prominent as they could be, the songs all work, and thus, excessive critique is unwarranted, and it's better to take the songs on Nifelvind
like they are - fun pieces of folk metal
, Fintroll have created a folk metal album that most likely will go down as one of the better ones in its genre this year. Nevertheless, a feeling that this could have been more, remains. Yes, it’s rather original, and yes, it's also fun to listen to, but Nifelvind
's slighly weak replay value and lack of guitar punch keep it from being anything more than good. Still, a good album is nothing to yawp over too much, and it’s better to forget all could’ve been’s and would’ve been’s, and just concentrate on the decent music on display. Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia, Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia Haiaaiaia Solsagan!