Martin : All welcome the triumphant return of the beer belly dance. After their utterly bonkers EP 'Uraltes Elemente' Norwegian folk metal weirdos return with their fourth album. Usually yet another new folk metal album wouldn't be that big a deal, but Trollfest succeed where many fail. 'En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral' is one of few folk metal albums that is neither cheesy nor boring.
On paper it's basically one big mess, though. Featuring members of much darker bands like Urgehal and Pantheon I, Trollfest sing about… well, trolls in a drunken tongue that is halfway between German and Norwegian. To make matters even worse, they came up with the demented idea of forging their music out of aggressive black metal at breakneck speeds and Slavic traditional music, among others. They even found a name for this crazy hybrid: 'True Norwegian Balkans Black Metal'. It's all rather self-explanatory. Others could argue that Trollfest sound like Finntroll after their drinks have been spiked by speed AND magic mushrooms. To top it off, 'En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral' features a kind of eclecticism rivaled only by Diablo Swing Orchestra and Estradasphere, showcasing elements of Arabic music, flamenco and basically anything one wouldn't expect on a folk metal album.
Strangely enough, this ballsy approach works surprisingly well. It might sound like a mess, but it's a very entertaining mess to say the least. The pace on 'En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral' is unrelenting, so those who are in for drunken debauchery are advised to get into shape. The black metal elements are very prominent throughout the album, lending at an aggressive edge, while at the same time the folk elements are added by means of genuine instrumentation in the form of saxophone, accordion and banjo instead of their synthetic equivalents. Because of this the polkas are, arguably, real polkas.
The sound might be slightly muffled and vocalist Trollmannen might still lack any nuance whatsoever, but most of all 'En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral' is 40 minutes of utterly daft, well-executed and original fun that, because it's still mainly a metal record, should melt the hearts of even the most frostbitten winter demons.