Finntroll plays there own brand of black folk metal sung in Swedish and they formed in Helsinki, Finland in 1997 by the founding members Teemu "Somnium" Raimoranta (guitarist) and Jan "Katla" Jämsen (vocalist). They released there first demo, Rivfader in 1998 and shortly after Samu Ruotsalainen (drummer), Samuli Ponsimaa (guitarist), Henri "Trollhorn" Sorvali (keyboardist) and Sami Uusitalo (bassist) joined the band. After the band was put together they released there first LP Midnattens Widunder in 1999. Unlike the demo which was solid black metal with folk elements mixed in they really tinkered with their sound including more folk elements as well as some symphonic keyboarding sounds which is no stranger to the black metal genre. The band then released Jaktens Tid which after there debut was a much more refined and clear sound as the band members started to really mesh into a unique sound. This catapulted them into into playing open-air festivals and garnered the attention of Century Media which started promoting them worldwide. In 2002 Jan "Katla" Jämsen was diagnosed with a tumor in his vocal chords and had to unfortunately quit the band. He officially quit after the release of the EP, Visor Om Slutet. Visor Um Slutet was recorded in a forest cabin in Helsinki and would be dubbed an "acoustical experiment". Katla and the new vocalist Tapio Wilska shared the singing duties among them in the EP and would prepare Tapio for his new job as full time vocalist. Shortly before the release, Finntroll was struck with more hardship as the guitarist and founding member Teemu "Somnium" Raimoranta died as he fell off a bridge in Hakaniemi, Helsinki. As the two founding members were no longer a part of the band the contemplated dissolving but after some time decided to go on, touring Europe for two weeks, with guitarist Mikael Karlbom who was hired as a replacement for Somnium. In 2004 the band released another EP, Trollhammaren and would be a preview to Nattfödd to presumably test the waters with the new line up. It was an instant success as both the EP and album would be more successful that any previous album. Nattfödd consisted of more humppa than previous work and was a major step in the right direction. In 2006 Tapio Wilska, vocalist of the band since 2002, was fired for undisclosed reasons. Following Tapio Wilska departure Mathias "Vreth" Lillmåns was hired as the bands full time vocalist. In 2007 the band would release Ur Jordens Djup and would put an emphasis on epic keyboard riffs with very loud but melodic guitar and downplayed some of the Humppa elements. Also former vocalist Katla was brought in to write the lyrics for this album. In 2010 they released Nifelvind and once again Katla was brought in to write lyrics for the album. This album retained the sound of Ur Jordens Djup with now an even bigger focus on the black metal sound.
Midnattens Widunder holds up to this day even if this was only the bands first album. It's a solid listen with my favourite being the title track and til this day it the growls in the song still gets me revved up. Jaktens Tid wasn't as good though the title track again was a personal favourite once again. Also the inclusion of more humppa elements I really enjoyed. Visor Om Slutet was dubbed as an experiment and I thought they succeeded. It was an acoustic album and much to my surprise I really appreciated the change of pace as it gave the band some depth. I actually almost wish the band hadn't released Trollhammaren as my Nattfödd listening experience was hindered as I over listened to Trollhammaren. Both albums were that good and Nattfödd remains one of my feel good albums especially with the further inclusion of Finntroll's folksy charm. Ur Jurden Djup would prove a step in the right direction as this band decided to turn to a more black metal sound. They did retain what made them Finntroll but just gave themselves an even darker image which I really enjoyed. At the time the dismissal of Tapio had me worried but Vreth fulfilled his duties in spades and Katla's lyrics were a very nice touch. In 2010 the release of Nifelvind would see a further inclusion of the dark imagery as was introduced with the previous album. Vreth and Katla would once again collaborate and create some more enjoyable imagery with the vocals. These guys are a staple of the genre and deserve to be heard for fans of any type of metal. Hopefully another album will be around the corner as there musical range always impresses me.
Midnattens Widunder (1999) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Jaktens Tid (2001) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Visor Om Slutet (EP) (2003) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Trollhammaren (EP) (2004) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Nattfödd (2004) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Ur Jordens Djup (2007) - V0 MP3 / VBR
Nifelvind (2010) - V0 MP3 / VBR