From the Depths of the Earth

feature image

Finland is fast becoming a hotbed of musical growth that rivals the Swedish explosion of the early and mid nineties, bands like Kalmah, Children of Bodom, Moonsorrow and Finntroll are putting Finland on the metal map as Sentenced and Amorphis did nearly a decade ago. Leading this creative charge is Finntroll. By fusing folk music and black metal with their native “humppa” or “polka” melodies, they have created a sound that is hard to define, yet enjoyable to listen to. It blatantly defies the inherent seriousness of black metal, but ala Bal-Sagoth; they don’t care and are content to put out the music they want to regardless of the genre restrictions. Last year’s Jaktens Tid, was my top album for 2001 and was a natural progression from the debut. I visited with guitarist Somnium to discuss this seemingly out of place group of trollsters.

Firstly, you guys are killer.  Jacktens Tid was widely well received was it surprising considering the “different” nature of the music?
Well, I guess it was the same thing as it was with the first album; we really didn’t know how people would react towards it. Of course, we had some clue as Midnattens Widunder got very good response from both listeners and media, but I’d say that we took our “thing” a bit further with Jaktens Tid. You could say that some of the things we tried out could be called more or less commercial suicide [laughs] But then again, we like to do things in our own way, and so far people have seemed to like it.

Give us a brief history of the band and the origin of the name Finntroll?
The name itself was taken from an old saga where some Swedish adventurers bump into a thing they called FinnTroll during their trip to Finland. This FinnTroll was described as raging lunatic that attacked them and killed most of them before they managed to bring it down. So we thought that the both name and the story behind it fit us. I started Finntroll in ’97 together with Katla. Sometime after that we released our demo, RivFader, which brought us this deal with Spikefarm. At that point, we decided to gather a full line-up in order to play live and to make a better album. After that it’s the ordinary bio-thing, album out, blah blah, second album out, blah blah, etc. [laughs]

A few of Finntrolls members are involved with other projects and some were before Finntroll.  Could you give us a quick summary of band member’s projects outside Finntroll?
I play also in Impaled Nazarene, B.Dominator plays in Rapture and Shape of Despair, Tundra plays in Rapture, Skrymer and Katla play in this stoner band called Seventh Planet and Trollhorn plays in Moonsorrow.

You guys have been given the moniker “black/polka metal.” How do you feel about this label and if you could label Finntroll yourself, how would you?
Hmm, I guess it’s all the same how people label us; it’s not that important for us. I’d say that it’s pretty hard to put our music in some specific genre.

Are you pleased with Spikefarm? You seem to be one of their high profile bands.  Have you had any interest from other labels?  Especially after the success of Jaktens Tid
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that they’ve done a decent job. At the moment, Century Media is taking care of the most part of the world as they licenced Jaktens Tid. I’d say that future looks rather bright for us. Century Media has good distribution, so we don’t have the same problems we had on the first album concerning this matter.

You guys don’t seem to take yourselves very seriously, Is this part of Finntroll’s “act”, or is that the true personality of the individual members?
I’d say that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Life is shitty enough, so I see no reason trying to make it even harder by cutting out the humour. I’d say that we’re just having a fucking good time with the thing that we’re doing.

When a new form of music arrives, it is quickly cloned. However, I have yet to hear any bands that sound remotely like Finntroll.  The only one I’ve heard that comes close is Eisregen, purely because they use a tuba.  To what do you attribute this lack of copycat bands? Does this make you happy to be the only band of this style? Are there unheard or unsigned bands doing this style of music?
If someone would try to imitate us, it would be too obvious. And then again, we are not that big a band, so copying us wouldn’t give you any major benefits. And we’re quite happy to be the only band with this style.

What do Finntroll listen too, in their spare time? Are there any bands fans should be on the lookout for?
Um, too many to mention here. All of Finntroll members have very different musical tastes. That’s probably the reason why we combine so many different influences in our music.

The band Moonsorrow?s last album Strength and Honor had English translations of all the lyrics. Are there any plans for Finntroll to do the same in the future? Are English lyrics available anywhere?
On our first album we had these English explanations of the lyrics, but they were forgotten from the new one some time during the artwork project.

I understand you are writing for the new album, can you share any information about it?
It’s too early to reveal anything from the next album, but you can expect the same kind of progress that happened between the previous albums.

You had to cancel some shows due to a problem with Katla’s vocal chords. How is Katla’s voice doing?  What was the feeling in the band after having to cancel shows?  What was the fan response?
This was a major tragedy for us, but we managed to get substitude singers to take care of the upcoming gigs. Right now we’re waiting for Katla’s voice to recover. No substitute could ever replace him totally.

What are Finntroll?s immediate plans? Any plans to tour the U.S.?
Hopefully, but I guess it depends on how our album is received there.

Anything else for the trollish horde?
Thanks for this interview, good luck with your ‘zine and hope to see you on tour someday. Meanwhile keep on Trollin’.

For more information on Finntroll, point your wart-covered mouse over to


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.