10 Apr 2010

Finntroll - Thanks, Mom!

Published in Rock Hard, April 2010
Author: Ronny Bittner
Translated by Megz, published on the Finntroll forum


With Nifelvind FINNTROLL succeeded a little stroke of genius: first, their fan base should not be alienated due to a lack of typical FINNTROLL-deployed elements, and other metal fans without blinders will also find pleasure in the journey through countless musical genres. We met singer Vreth and guitarist Skrymer in Dortmund Century Media Office.

Some musicians dread promo tours. Not so FINNTROLL singer Vreth and guitarist Skrymer: The men are happy that they loll in mid-January in the offices of their record company in Dortmund giving interviews. "At home I would be waiting around doing just about anything-except the tour preparations. They only start in a few weeks because our other guitarist Routa spends his honeymoon in Thailand just now," Skrymer tells us in a low voice after the lunch break of half scorned Pasta.

With "Nifelvind" You have made a big step forward. To what extent do you feel as part of the Pagan scene?

Sk: We have never felt a part of this scene. To be honest, we avoid being labeled as part of that scene.
Vr: This is true for all the genres in which people want to pigeonhole us. If you get stuck there once, you must keep to certain conventions, and we do not want that. When you play in a pure folk metal band, you can not publish an album like "Nifelvind". The stylistic diversity is not accepted.

On the other hand you are playing on tours such as the Paganfest and present your shows in typical Pagan clothing.

Vr: Certainly there's similarities with the scene.
Sk: But we haven't copied anyone in selecting our outfits. When we started twelve years ago, there were not many bands who dressed like that.

What would you say about your last album "Ur Jordens Djup" in retrospect? Unlike "Nifelvind" it is a very hard, dark and one-dimensional album.

Sk: The disc was musically more back to our roots. Part of this style is also heard on the new record. Total "Nifelvind" combines elements of all previous FINNTROLL albums. So it's like the first real-FINNTROLL album (laughs).

Vreth, for you it is the second album with FINNTROLL. Do you feel fully accepted by the fans and the band?
Vr: Yes, that was the case from day one. We had some communication problems, and it was a new and unfamiliar role for me, but that subsided quickly. With the fans there was no problems. Only when I was announced as a singer, some skeptical comments found on the Internet: "That is the new singer?"
Sk: "He's not even fat!" But it was not according to this criterion that we were looking for a singer.

It's always hard to tell one's parents that you want to make your livelihood with a metal band - especially when it is dealing with such a chaotic bunch of drinkers as FINNTROLL, right?
Sk: My parents have always given me free rein and I never want to squeeze in something. Perhaps this is part of the Finnish mentality.
Vr: I grew up in a musical family. My father played in the seventies and eighties in a band called Sound, which was quite well known in Finland. He knows what it's like to be constantly on tour.
Sk: Trollhorn's father was one of the most legendary jazz drummers in Finland. My father is a photographer and cameraman and has a fairly liberal mindset. My mother wanted to visit one of our gigs, I said to her: "Will you really want to see your son dead drunk on stage?" My mother became especially delighted after the gig. She said: "You have sounded almost like a real band!" Thanks, Mom!
Your keyboard player Trollhorn is the musical mastermind of FINNTROLL, but he is not touring with you. Do you feel like puppets without a master on tour sometimes?

Sk: No, because there would not be FINNTROLL if we were not all there. Trollhorn produces a demo of the album, which corresponds to his vision, but what we will have on the finished album is realized by all the members. If we had to enact strictly only his stuff, I would be bothered. But we all feel that they are our songs. Trollhorn is just the idea-maker.
Vr: Trollhorn said in the studio last production, it would not sound like FINNTROLL if he was recording the songs alone. Skrymer provides the pieces with a personal touch already just with his guitar playing.

For some international fans, it may be difficult to understand the contents of your Swedish lyrics. Have you ever thought to sometime provide a song with English text?

Vr: We have discussed this, but that does not benefit us all in question.
Sk: Why should we sing the Finnish folklore and Finnish myths in English? That makes no sense at all to me. Of course there's people in our business environment, advising us to sing in English, so that more people understand us. But if you ever have a problem with the language, then you will probably have still more problems with our music.
Vr: If you really want to know what we sing, you can go into the net. A week after the release of our albums, Finnish or Swedish fans have the texts already in translated form up on the Internet.


Vreth and Skrymer and the songs of "Nifelvind"

Blodmarsch (Intro)

Vr: The intro is consistent with its light circus and a Voodoo-Vibe on the album.


Vr: We have chosen Solsagan as a video single because the song contains all the elements of the album.
Sk: Solsagan has black and death metal riffs and eerie and orchestral moments. We found it funny to start the entire album with blast beats. This is not necessarily expected.

Den Frusna Munnen

Vr: The eighties pop song.
Sk: Thanks to Peter Gabriel!
Vr: This is still a Danny Elfman--influence.
Sk: It sounds like Danny Elfman would produce Dismember. This song is TrollHorn was not sure if he has not exaggerated. But that's what I believe in this band.

Ett Norrskendåd

Vr: I think this is the first song we wrote for Nifelvind. Ett Norrskensdåd includes both Swedish folk elements and oriental influences. Therefore, we have had a friend from Iran take over the percussion. The violin is played, by the way, by Olli Vänskä of Turisas.

I Trädens Sång

Sk: The song is musically "back to the roots".
Vr: Yes, the track would have fit well on Midnattens Widunder.

Tiden utan Tid

Vr: Perhaps the most epic song of the album - and I may not actually want the term "epic". A very atmospheric track that breaks out of the usual structures.


Vr: The Country Song. This song would have fit well on our acoustic album Visor om Slutet. We wanted in the middle of the album to have a song that turns a gear down. For me it was a challenge to work only with clean vocals.
Sk: It is also the first song of ours that works without keyboards. On it only acoustic guitars can be heard.
Mot Skuggornas Värld

Vr: That's Tundra Vision. A real Bodybuilder-track (laughs).
Sk: A rock song with Industrial-Vibe.

Under Bergets Rot

Vr: A punk version of FINNTROLL with rockabilly twist. The main theme is from our other guitarist, Routa.
Sk: I always had the wish that Rob Zombie sometime produced a video for us. This song would be perfectly suitable for that.
Vr: The song was damn hard to mix, simply because there's a lot going on.


Vr: Perhaps the most experimental song on the album. Also in this one, Routa had his fingers in the game. My vocals are very varied.
Sk: The track had a lot of guitar tracks. When someone at one point had the mix of guitars turned down a bit, and we thought: leave it so, it is perfect!


Vr: A Swedish death metal song with FINNTROLL impact. One of our longest pieces and a perfect end of the album.