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Finntroll! Viking Metal and the War Against Irony

Finntroll! Viking Metal and the War Against Irony

Imagine if the Cookie Monster joined a Madness tribute band and persuaded them to adopt a heavier guitar sound while he rapped.

There’s a half-naked man on stage and he’s got pointed ears — not the rubber Vulcan/Elf ears you see at parties; full on floppy troll ears. More importantly, he’s not doing this for comic effect. He addresses the crowd in a crisp Finnish accent; “Did anybody buy the album!”

Incoherent roars and yells from the pit where long-haired students wait to “mosh.”

Somebody must have boasted about getting a pirate download because Mathias – Finntroll‘s lead singer – shoots back levelly, “#### you, sir.  We have the vinyl over there. You can go buy it right now.”

Perhaps the pirate retorts that information wants to be free, or that musicians should play for the love of it. If he does, his words are lost because the music starts.

Gamer Dad and I have hauled ourselves to the Classic Grand in Glasgow, a city which reminds me of late Constantinople; the inhabitants live out a vibrant life amid the crumbling relics of Victorian glory, repurposing old buildings until the very scars in their fabric tell the sagas of lost milieus. This venue started life in 1915 as a cinema. Now it’s a rather good rock club.

We 40-something dads have the shortest hair in the room and are at the upper end of the demographic, but we don’t care. We’re here to see Tyr, who are playing support tonight. They’re more melodic than their cohorts and sing about Viking gods and the old ways. Robert E. Howard would approve (but that’s another story). However, we’re in no rush to get our train. We stay for the main act.

Finntroll are… not easy listening.

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