Kaptein Kaos
(Napalm Records)

Though I hadn’t heard much from Trollfest until I decided to give their last record Brumblebassen a shot, I was quite impressed with the diversity and hilarity of the material. Not only did the album show that these guys could play, but that they could differentiate themselves from the other Hummpa metal acts out there, like Finntroll (who also surprised me in that same year.) But even though 2012 was an interesting year for Hummpa metal, this year already proves to be a bad start when I get something like, well… this. While I get the idea that the band is trying to revitalize their style of Hummpa metal by adding little bells and whistles into each song; it tends to get utterly ridiculous and profoundly annoying as with “Valkan” which ends with a band simply doing too damn much. As a matter of fact, the first three songs on the disc are quite forgetful, with the opener “Trolltramp” sounding like a folk metal track for three-year olds. I simply have to shake my head and question what in the hell these guys were thinking after the last album. This literally sounds like the bottom of the barrel as far as ideas are concerned.

The first thing I can’t stand are the harsh vocals. I don’t remember them being this frantic on the last album and here they just sound like incoherent shouts which are more than likely to get old fast. Despite that the band still show a little bit of muscularity in these pieces, it’s a bit much to ask someone to go through that guy’s gallivanting around on the album. Take “Ave Maria” for example. He sounds like he’s jumping around the studio while screaming into the microphone with the first thing that pops into his head. That’s not being experimental, it’s just being silly.

But it’s not all trash, as “Seduction Suite No. 21” seems to cut the funny business in lieu of a memorable and majestic folk piece. It’s painfully obvious that Trollfest are good musicians, they just like to have a little bit of fun and perhaps they ended up having a little bit too much fun with this one. However, I can’t get the Latin rhythms of “Solskinnsmedisin” out of my head for the life of me. I don’t know what metalheads are going to say about this one… wait. You know, this one might just be too much of a stretch for the hardcore metal vets, who might wonder what in the fuck they’re listening to. And what the hell is going on with “Sagn Om Stein?” I feel like the band’s trying to take me around the world with this one and I’m quite baffled really. Then we’ve got surf melodies on “Renkespill.” Yet there’s one track on the disc that really spoke to me and that’s the song right before the whole damn thing ends. It’s an Asian inspired piece called “Kinesik Alkymi” which includes some extremely memorable riff melodies and a powerful clean chorus that goes well with those melodies. I can even stomach the vocals due to the power of those chorus lines. His clean vocals aren’t perfect, but they fit well within the melody and my ears caught that on first listen. There are also some nice structural ideas in the middle of the piece that serve to bring about a good breakdown. Some growls even appeal in areas. Obviously, these guys are trying to do something different, or one might say “more different” with this album; but this experiment proves to offer a highly combustible and spontaneous chemical concoction. The band might be dressed in lab coats this time around, but it seems like they’re just dumping musical chemicals into a large vat with no real knowledge of their properties. What’s left is a highly combustible, tar-like mixture that smells funny. If we were to compare this album to that very mixture, then I think a large biohazard sign would need to be placed around it; as well as a thick section of barricades. Whatever these guys have created, it’s not yet safe for human consumption. Listen with caution. (Eric May)

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