Ur Jordens Djup

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Finntroll certainly aren't the only Scandinavian black metal/death metal band that has been greatly influenced by Nordic folk music, but they have managed to set themselves apart from many of their peers because of their emphasis on Finnish humppa (as opposed to Swedish or Norwegian folk) and because of all the humor and irony they bring to the table. By their own admission, Finntroll were created for a good laugh -- and yet, Finntroll became more than a novelty. Their fusion of extreme metal and humppa turned out to have serious backbone -- enough backbone for them to celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2007 with Ur Jordens Djup (From the Depths of the Earth). Finntroll, like so many other extreme metal bands, have had their share of lineup changes along the way; Ur Jordens Djup is their first album with lead singer Mathias Lillmåns, aka Vreth, who shows himself to be a welcome addition to the band on blistering yet melodic items like "Nedgång," "En Mäktig Här," and "Maktens Spira." Whether one describes Ur Jordens Djup as folk-metal, symphonic black metal, or melodic death metal -- actually, all of those terms are applicable -- Finntroll's performances continue to be as musical as they are intense. These guys get a lot of melodic inspiration from old-school power metal (as in Manowar, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, and Queensrÿche), and it serves them well. Ur Jordens Djup isn't quite as essential as 2004's Nattfödd, but it's a solid, consistently likable effort that finds Finntroll's "trollish hoedown metal," as they call it, continuing to hold up nicely after ten years.

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