Martin : Following a particularly grim, black metal-dominated end of year list, it might actually be a good idea for yours truly to change the mood a little bit. Until recently, Trollfest have always been a very welcome exception in the cheese-laden realms of folk metal. Whilst most examples of said subgenre are unbearable and at their very least cringeworthy, Trollfest’s ‘True Norwegian Balkan Metal’ is filled to the brim with unusual instrumentation, great songwriting, and most of all an unlikely blend of fast-paced ferocity, rhythmic twists and turns that make the wait for that overdue new Tool album a lot more bearable, and Muppet Show vocals.
Unfortunately, ‘Norwegian Fairytales’ offers far too few of the aforementioned standout elements, essentially making it just another folk metal album. Opener ‘Fjøsnissens Fjaseri’ is a fantastic song, offering everything that used to make Trollfest such a great band, and the short, piano and blastbeat-driven ‘Deildegasten’ is wonderfully insane, but that’s about it in terms of standout tracks. The majority of ‘Norwegian Fairytales’ is made up of midtempo songs in 3/4, 2/4 or occasionally7/4 (which is by no means unusual for Trollfest standards). Sure, it’s all very competently executed, and Trollfest still use a boatload of instruments one would not expect in a metal band, but where is the insanity and the aggression? Where are the blastbeats? Where is the Swedish Chef?
It seems Trollfest have sacrificed almost everything that made them special for a more accessible sound. Nonetheless, there is no denying that these Norwegian trolls are still a remarkably competent troupe. This time, though, they do not offer a welcome contrast to all darkness and evil, so let’s just play some more Funeral Mist.