Review Summary: Finntroll shows us they can be serious and thought provoking with this all-acoustic folk album.
Finntroll's relatively black metal approach to folk music has made them one of the best and most influential folk metal bands of the 2000's. Albums such as Midnattens Widunder have clearly shown their black metal influences, and have made then a staple in the genre. Contrasting sharply to this style however, there is Visor Om Slutet, one of the relatively unnoticed gems of 2003. With this all folk album, which Finntroll themselves as a ""acoustical experiment", the band gives us such variety from chilling ambient songs to the joyous dance of the trolls.
The first thing apparent when listening to the album is its short length. At barely over half an hour some may question it being called an album. However, upon finishing the album it is apparent that it need not be longer. By the end the album feels like its own self-contained package, leaving the listening satisfied and at peace. Another thing that is apparent is the lack of actual songs. While the track number speaks of 11 songs, there is really only 5. The other tracks take the form of epic, synthesised orchestral songs, others calm ambient sounds of a forest. The band recorded this album in a woodland cabin in Finland, which justifies this unusual album structure. In this way the band gets across a feeling of quiet, somewhat mournful peace. The album is also dedicated to one of their guitarists, Teemu Raimoranta, who died in March of 2003. This is especially shown in the song Den Sista Runans Dans, a mournful and tragic sounding piece.
The album as a whole is completely and absolutely trollish in a different way to Finntroll's previous works. One song, Rov, simply seems to be the sound of a troll's heavy breathing. This feel is carried through the tracks of the album that appear to be just the sounds of the forest. In this way Finntroll makes us hear, feel and imagine a group of roving trolls living in the woodlands of Finland. The song Forsvinn Du Som Lyser is a light sounding polka, accompanied by guttural, trollish vocals. A stand-out song of the album is Under Varje Rot Och Sten, which starts with a calm and peaceful flute line accompanied by synthesised strings. This eventually gives way to a joyous dance of trolls, making it fun and festive to listen to.
Overall, Visor Om Slutet is a fantastic album in its own way. Though it may not appeal to a more metal loving Finntroll fan, it comes to its own when presented to open-minded music lovers. Replay value is not relative in this case, as the album as gives the listener a definite feeling of peace and satisfaction. While this album is not for everyone, for lovers of folk music and devout Finntroll fans it is a must have. For those unsure, give it a listen and find out for yourself.