Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trollfest - Helluva (2017)

In the metal universe, there are weird bands, there are crazy bands, there are insane bands, and then there is Trollfest, a Norwegian folk metal band that are completely out of their fucking minds. With a solid mix of strange folk melodies that takes you straight to the troll infested forest of Norway and a lot of saxophone (yes, saxophone!), this band is truly something unique, something that no one can recreate. I mean, just look at the cover, and you will immediately understand what kind of wacky creatures we are dealing with here (THE SPELUNKING SISTERS HAVE FREAKING EIGHT NIPPLES?!... or maybe warts).

My first encounter with these woodland beings was in 2012 when they released "Brumblebassen", and quality wise they have always held the banner fairly high, making them enjoyable even if only a couple of songs were truly excellent. Not surprisingly, the same can be said about "Helluva", the band's seventh offering. It is really enjoyable, because the wacky nature of the band is just so infectious, forcing a Joker like grin to your face.

The album opens up with just an intro. No seriously, the intro is actually called "This Is Just The Intro", but it is more than just a simple intro. Sure, it is just an short instrumental, but it has zany melodies that gets you pumped up for what is coming. Then the band takes you straight through its insane world with "Professor Otto", a speedy track that is Trollfest to the very core, with its crazy folk melodies and incomprehensible vocals. Sure, Trollmannen may not be a new Ronnie James Dio, but he fits perfectly in with the madness around him.

There are several small details in this album that is genuinely charming, making "Helluva" really good. The speed and the catchy rhythms are a main reason to why this band is so enjoyable, which is highly noticeable in songs like "Spelunking Sisters" and "La Grande finale", while "Gigantic Cave" stands out as one of few songs with some clean vocals, giving a more catchy chorus that will make you sing along to the line "Some creepy looking guy, some creepy looking species". Then we have "Steel Sarah", which starts with some techno-ish video game music, but then bursts out into one of few times where the heavy guitars are at the front of the cavalry, especially towards the second half of the song where the band almost goes industrial on our asses. It is a cool and almost epic song, a clear highlight of this album.

But then we have those really weird songs that are either hilarious, or just plain... wut? "Trollachen" is just three straight minutes of trolls laughing and, seemingly, getting drunk. Then we have "Hen of Hades", which is a song about a chicken... from hell. Let us also not forget "Reiten Mit Ein Fisch", which is German for "Ride with a fish" (I thought these guys were from Norway, god dammit), and at some parts it sounds like it was stolen from a level in "Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex". Finally, we have "Kabaret", and yes, it sounds like some cabaret from the 1930's, only with hairy, green, wart filled trolls. Jesus Christ, I am truly speechless here, this is just completely bonkers. If you want insanity, you have surely come to the right place

If nothing else, "Helluva" will be remembered as a really fun record that follows the same spirit that the rest of Trollfest's discography displays. It is an incredibly wacky record that is sure to turn your frown upside down in no time, and even if it does not add anything new to the band's repertoir, it is still good times when this is on. It might be a little too long though, so a couple of songs could have easily been removed, but still, this is a helluva fun adventure that Professor Otto and the Spelunking Sisters are treating us. Never stop festing, you god damn crazy trolls.

Songs worthy of recognition: Steel Sarah, Professor Otto, Gigantic Cave

Rating: 7,5/10 Kabarets

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