I originally sat down to review Trollfest’s Helluva by myself in a quiet office where I could immerse myself in the music and try to gather my thoughts. I should have known that was a lost cause on a Sunday when my husband was home and playing Call of Duty. What started out as MY review quickly became OUR review and while I can’t honestly explain some of what he hears, I think we obviously agree that Trollfest’s take on music is what makes them unique.
To understand Helluva one must first understand Trollfest. They describe themselves on their FaceBook page as “a bunch of goons who became bored with the selection of party music that was available to them, helped along by the consumption of large quantities of alcohol.” They joined in 2003 to create a new selection of party music and it wasn’t until 2007, after their second album took off, that they played live, headlining the Ninth Barther Metal Open Air Festival. Helluva is the eleventh album from the band, dropping February of this year.
From the beginning, “This Is Just the Intro,” you already know where the influence is for the music. You are taken on a fantasy journey through the world of trolls with instrumentals heavy on saxophone and accordion. Described as Norwegian folk metal, black metal, and avant-garde metal, the journey is interesting to say the least. The growling lyrics of “Professor Otto” only serve to enhance the instrumentals. While the drums and guitars are certainly heard throughout the songs, they are simply accessories used to showcase the saxophone and accordion. Don’t try to translate the lyrics. It is written in what is called Trollspråk, a mix of Norwegian and German and the ending result, a mix of English and Norwegian, will confuse you even more. Just close your eyes and enjoy the music. Just use your imagination to envision demented trolls dancing around and laughing maniacally as they make their sacrifices to the gods of folk metal.
What is a Trollfest? According to their Facebook page they are true Norwegian Balkan Metal. I think they are a mixture of Irish, Indian, and Polka. They play with a speed that is only matched by their desire to be different. The use of drums keesp the beat going faster and faster, leading you down a merry track to an unknown end. Each song has multiple different sounds. They play what they like, when they like, and use many different instruments to make the sound their own. The songs are catchy even without lyrics due to language barrier. Even Google Translate gets lost in their music. They are a long term band that has crafted their take on music and to hell with everyone else. The only thing better than their music is their take on the album cover design.