Thursday, 17 April 2014


It starts with a cheeky, sparkling riff of pure vintage hard-rock that remains hopelessly stuck in the brain, the debut album of these jolly Dutch purveyors of a brand of folk-metal that would rejuvenate a Methuselah! But behind the apparent frolicking mood of these forest trolls there flourishes a piece of work that is genuinely, heart-warmingly intimate: in thoughtful awe of the cycles of nature, they draw from it comfort and hope. Next to roaring notes ranging from folk-rock classics such as Jethro Tull (the famous flute still working its magic) to more contemporary rhythmically fast and furious metal, germinates the fertile soil of the lyrics, which offer numerous references to Dutch history and noble stimuli. The late-romantic spirit of Mahler is mentioned as a source of inspiration for the entire work, while Thomas Mann and Dante also add suggestive facets to the narrative. The tracks are utterly surprising, addictive in their passionate blend of joy, good humor and latent melancholy, the latter having its raison d’être not merely because it is part of everyone’s daily life, but for being a moment of personal redemption on behalf of those who suffer from some form of physical frailty. Among infectious elves’ choruses, captivatingly cool keyboard solos alternate with freshness to the energetic guitars: this is so far removed from the irritating run-of-the-mill folk metal we are sadly too often plagued with; this is life-celebrating, genuine stuff TO BE ENJOYED NON-STOP! Delicious the artwork and booklet on the digipack version, I can only imagine what the vinyl looks like... Alvenrad and the infamous Trollmusic label are calling for an immediate “wodenization” of the modern world: join or die – literally!

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