If it’s a matter of confessing, I must say that when I listened to the first few seconds of Brumlebassen, by Trollfest, I seriously considered not listening to the rest of the album. And no, not because I did not like it; quite the opposite, Brumlebassen reveals its savage party folk metal sound, comical yet musically compelling from the very beginning, and does it with so much personality and such a lack of elegance (which is a compliment and something I adore) that for a moment I feared that if I kept listening to it, I would grow a beard and I could maybe feel an uncontrollable desire to drink beer like a Viking, and even would feel like taking out my clothes and dance atop my already shaky desktop… But my mother taught me to be brave and even despite the fear, I decided to keep listening to the entire album, several times, and well, the beard is yet to appear but not for the lack of trying.
Trollfest define themselves as a “true Norwegian Balkan metal” band, and luckily, the actual line up consists on six bearded true Norwegian guys, whose nicknames are perhaps another example of the immense love for beer and trolls they proudly profess: singer Trollmannen, guitarists Mr. Seidel and Dr. Leif Kjønnsfleis, drummer TrollBANK, saxophonist DrekkaDag, bassist Lodd Bolt and the multi-instrumentalist Manskow on accordion, banjo, tambourine, etc. Brumlebassen is the fifth full-length album of the band, and in 10 years they have managed to destabilize the ceremonial aura in the folk metal kingdom, dumping huge amounts of talent and originality in their work and the best of all, making it clear that all this madness was planned, fecundated and born in the depths of a sea of alcohol and unbridled revelry.
But don’t be fooled, Trollfest involves much more than trolls and binge stories – this may sound a little bit funny but we can say that Brumlebassen is nothing less than a concept album. Trollfest has given an identity to their characters, they had developed interesting compositions, had created a story, even a fictional language called Trollspråk, which is basically a mixture of several Nordic languages, especially Norwegian, and German, with an intentionally poor grammar. Starting with the cover, the green and oddly interesting creature seems to be the trolls’ beekeeper, dressed like a bee apparently because he’s having a secret and torrid sex story with the bees; and that sentence just made me laugh uncontrollably… I wish to believe that the man who died trying to do something similar not so long ago in Sweden was under the influence of Brumlebassen… Anyway, the music here is pure genius, surprisingly skilful – note that I say this with my eyes wide open as a sign of true surprise. Although their sound often comes very close to Finntroll, you don’t actually feel it with the humorous, even silly sense of Trollfest music along with the masterful and rare use of banjo, accordion, saxophone, acoustic guitar melodies, and some badass blast beats and guitar riffs in the purest Norwegian vibe that could easily satisfy fans of death and even black metal. The tracks last exactly what they should; not too long to tire you but enough to leave you wanting more. Song-writing is dynamic, fun and fluid.
One of the things that has amazed me the most is the diversity in the songs. They were clearly made for partying but they still are technically satisfactory. We could highlight Brumlebassen, opening track that may reveals some Melechesh influences in the riffs, Verboten Kjærleik, the first ballad in the history of the band, which is surprisingly sad enough to be a good folk ballad, but with enough “drunken troll” elements too, to remind us that nothing is as serious as it seems. Sellout, with English lyrics, is very accessible and so melodic and light that I can’t really classify it as metal – the always beautiful and talented Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania) is featured in this song! Then come Rundt Bålet and Trinken Troll, two eclectic and catchy-as-hell songs, and Mystisk Maskert, a ridiculously simple acoustic song, which seems to have been taken directly from a comedy TV show – probably the reason why I cannot get it out of my head!
So that’s it folks, if you’re ready to have fun and forget about “serious musicianship” for a while, grab a beer (or two) and just don’t sweat it, let yourself go with Brumlebassen. And, just in case, if your sex appeal grows with alcohol (which I honestly doubt) and you get someone to have fun with tonight, don’t worry, Trollfest also sells condoms! So don’t be a fool and cover your tool, buy the damn album, because this band rules! Wait… That didn’t rhyme, did it? Oh well…