Finnish metal returns to Emo's for a sequel
By Raoul Hernandez,
2:50PM, Thu. Feb. 3, 2011
Top 10 lists are slave to consumption – what you did and didn’t ingest. Disclaimer dispatched, my 2010 live metal honors notch 20 thrashings: (Update: Finntroll's show tonight at Emo's has been canceled due to snow.)
Kreator, Emo’s (Mar. 27)
Pentagram, Black Tusk, Mala Suerte, Emo’s (May 26)
Watain, Goatwhore, Averse Sefira, HOD, Emo’s (Nov. 23)
Unsane, Nile, Ex Deo, Keep of Kalessin, Emo’s (Nov. 20)
Megadeth, Testament, Exodus, Stubb’s (Mar. 26)
Overkill, Vader, God Dethroned, Emo’s (April 19)
Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Emo’s (May 11)
Paul DiAnno, Red Eyed Fly (Feb. 10)
Obituary, Emo’s (June 6)
Boris, Mohawk (Aug. 28)
Behemoth, Emo’s (Jan. 13)
Immolation, Vader, Emo’s (Oct. 20)
The Sword, Waterloo Records (Aug. 23)
Broken Teeth, Encore Records & Video (Feb. 6)
Eyehategod, Phobia, Red 7 (Dec. 12)
Rodrigo y Gabriela, Stubb’s (Sept. 3)
Floor, Kylesa, Eagle Claw, Waterloo Park, Fun Fun Fun Fest (Nov. 7)
Blue Oyster Cult, Travis County Expo Center, Republic of Texas Biker Rally (June 10)
Anvil, Emo’s (Jan. 25)
The final entry slots in right after Unsane – landing fifth in the Top 5: Finntroll, who, with fellow Finns Moonsorrow and Swallowed by the Sun, plus locals Lions of Tsavo, topped the Finnish Metal Tour last April 29. Returning to Emo’s tomorrow, Friday, the sequel – Finnish Metal Tour 2 – re-imports the headliner, metal’s Pogues.
Pagan metallurgy may be native to Scandinavia, but “folk-rooted black metal,” as Finntroll’s MySpace page describes its 2010 forest clearing Nifelvind, still jigs – upon first contact – like Popeye’s dingy rammed by Viking ships. Sea shanty apocalypse? Believe it. Traditional folk pummel by the Pogues, Mano Negra, and Gogol Bordello finds itself caught in Finntroll’s mosh.
Nifelvind opens with the thunder drums of “Blodmarsch (Intro)” giving way to the folksy kick-off of “Solsagan,” trampled then by its Valkyrie thrash gallop. “Den Frusna Munnen” next borrows Peter Gabriel’s rain stick, which beats the tune’s Celtic rototill. “Under Bergets Rot” unearths the chain drive melody pulling Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. All three tracks splashed Finntroll’s 17-song set list last spring.
Helsinki’s Ensiferum, Latin for “sword bearer,” sheaths the top of this weekend's bill alongside Finntroll with Viking metal, but veteran Vaasa, Finland, foursome Rotten Sound represents the most extreme act on the five-act bill. Cursed, due in March on Relapse Records, the quartet's sixth LP, spoils for a face ripping with prime grindcore, 16 tracks in 28 minutes. Barren Earth, more Helsinki hellions, comes to Austin correct, with Peaceville Records’ debut Curse of the Red River. Vintage prog-lite with copious hooks and classic rock solos – Queensryche for Scandinavians – the sextet’s 1,000-yard stare on “Forlorn Waves” courses beyond the seas, while sand and sky burn on “The Ritual of Dawn,” complete with George Lynch-ian soloing. Acoustic guitars and keys prompt Michael Schenker-ish/UFO guitar on the succeeding “Cold Earth Chamber.” Local Christian moshers the Brigade touch it all off.
Finntroll’s previous full-length, 2007’s raw Ur Jordens Djup, its fourth, closed the band’s main set at Emo’s last year with “Maktens Spira,” a seafaring melody shot torpedo-like in a hair-singeing blaze of Ren-fair glory. Flagons of black metal hoisted aloft, Finntroll quaffs 100 proof.