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By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 9:24 AM

Finnish Folk Metallers FINNTROLL Finally Get Their Start At Mavericks, Ottawa, Canada, November 8, 2013, Along With METSATOLL and BLACKGUARD On The Blodsvept Tour

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Not too long ago, Ottawa colored its world blackened (and maybe folkened) as the autumn solstice was officially welcomed with the usual grim offerings from Mother Nature: Plummeting temperatures, falling leaves and rain every second or third day. I'd been on a non-stop contract for the past 16 months so every now and then it was hard to really notice much of a change in the weather from the perspective of an office cubicle. Daunting work and after all the hours I put in I never thought I'd be so happy as to be "in between contracts" right now but at least I could finally unwind afterwards.

Ordinarily, my idea of unwinding usually involves copious amounts of alcohol, good friends and lots of metal at my disposal. Often almost any type of metal will though it would take me a while to really gravitate towards it. So needless to say, black experimental folk metal from Estonia ranks pretty low on my radar but in this case METSATOLL managed to pleasantly surprise me. To my ears, their music is reminiscent of early MY DYING BRIDE experimenting with the bagpipe solo from "It's A Long Way To The Top" on one song before launching into the monotone chanting intro from the cult 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi afterwards. To the first 2 rows in front of me their music was a cathartic release and an excuse to whip up a pit. And while songs like "Küü", "Äio" and "Vaid Vaprust" aren't immediately catchy to the eardrums after a couple of listens, METSATOLL play with heart. Plus your favorite band has yet to master the art of the torupill solo (also known as the Estonian bagpipes) and playing that same solo with the instrument behind the performer's back. Somewhere in the afterlife, Jimi Hendrix was quickly impressed when he saw that performance. And likely you will too when METSATOLL take your town and your vodka supply.


Following a quick soundcheck which saw frontman Paul Zinay pull off his best Michael Buble impersonation, Quebec power thrashing metal merchants BLACKGUARD immediately tore up the stage with their lightning-fast riffs, powerful drumwork and operatic vocals with even greater influences of Scandinavian death and folk metal reaching the surface. That apparently will be the new direction the band will be taking on their new album once it's released. Late 2013 was supposedly the date in which the new disc Storm was due to drop but somehow more touring commitments between the last time I saw these guys rip shit up on the SOILWORK tour and now suddenly filled up their schedule. They still deliver the new material such as "Northern Storm", "Rise" and "This Dying Season" alongside the crowd favorites like "Firefight" and "This Round's On Me" with menace but the public, while still giving their adoration for these dark-clad Quebeckers, are getting impatient and want that sophomore disc available for the taking yesterday.


Dark, grim, frostbitten, and with ridiculous-looking plastic ears, headliners FINNTROLL claim the stage at last. For a group of self-professed elven folk straight outta Mordor (okay, they're actually from Finland), they appear a lot taller than their videos give 'em credit for. But they probably hear that a lot everywhere they play - including here in Ottawa for the first time. And they've been a solid touring band for a while though mostly in Europe since their inception 16 years ago, their sixth and latest disc Blodsvept having made an impact amongst many metal fans on this side of the pond groovin' to the eclectic and bizarre yet solid mix of thundering Scandinavian death metal and brooding melodic folk overtures. True, the lyrics pose a language barrier for many of us but 15 years later we're still listening to "Du Hast" on a regular basis last time I checked. And unlike RAMMSTEIN, FINNTROLL rely less on continuity and more on consistency in their performance. Take a song like "Solsagan" for example, when played live which can go at breakneck speed in the chorus while somewhere within the interlude it can slow down a bit. The audience still chant along to the chorus anyway and even come close to drowning out the band half the time. Then there's a tune like "Trollhammaren", whose intro upon which you can almost sing the chorus to BLACK STAR RIDERS' "Kingdom Of The Lost" before it morphs into early CHILDREN OF BODOM complete with accordion and flute; again, the crowd loses its shit once the opening chords are played. That's the cult following that FINNTROLL have amassed over the years and they've thrived on it just like they did at this show. And a show they indeed put on, entertaining yet stimulating, in as much their own element on the stage as the crowd are in the pit. Not bad for a band that at first glance appear like the bastard love children of MUDVAYNE and William Wallace.

In short, these trolls are on a roll.


Setlist (in Swedish which will be a first for KNAC. The band claims the Swedish language suits the "trollish" persona of their songs. I only just review the songs, folks):

  • "Intorr"
  • "Blodsvept"
  • "Solsagan"
  • "Mordminnen"
  • "Ett Folk Forbannat"
  • "Drap"
  • "Slaget Vid Blodsalv"
  • "En Maktig Har"
  • "Svartberg"
  • "Nar Jattar Marschera"
  • "Under Bergets Rot"
  • "Nedgang"
  • "Skovlarens Dod"
  • "Skogsdotter"
  • "Haxbrygd"
  • "Jaktens Tid"
  • "Nattfodd"
  • "Trollhammaren"

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