Trolls and kilts and black metal, oh my! Where could one hope to find such a combination? Last Wednesay, Finntroll, a folk-black-metal band from Finland, took over Slim’s, and they brought it all with them. Shirtless, long-haired men donning kilts could be seen wall to wall, packing the venue. Not a show for the faint of heart, the venue, which is usually home to the punk and indie scene, was taken over by true purveyors of metal.
Originally from Finland, Finntroll is definitely not your average black metal band. Although black metal itself is far from average, Finntroll creates a folkier feel by incorporating traditional Finnish Humppa, which is the Finn’s take on polka. Their lyrics, sung in the traditional Swedish language, easily create the atmosphere of a dark fantasy world where the listener is transported to troll-infested gloomy woods filled with drunken fighting and the occasional battle chants. Graced with the very fitting genre of “Troll Metal,” Finntroll is known for bringing amazing energy to their live sets, and their trek to San Francisco proved this sentiment true.
Opening the night was Warbringer, a thrash metal band out of Venturawhose instrumental assault on the audience of Slim’s was extraordinary. Warbringer produced everything one would ever expect out of a thrash metal band. Their amazing riffs, mind-boggling fast solos and intense drumming created an incredible energy throughout the venue. They accomplished much more than hoped from an opening band. Their set readied the moods of concertgoers for the spectacle about to be witnessed.
After a short set change, the lights dimmed and the curtains rose. Low lights flashed onstage, causing a gloomy illumination of Finntroll’s backdrop. The band quickly took stage and, with no hesitation, began their blood-curdling set. Keyboardist Trollhorn worked his magic producing the trollish Humppa sounds Fintroll is known for. Vocalist, Vreth, shrieked Swedish lyrics from their popular song “Trollhammeran” to the crowd, and they happily reiterated by throwing fists into the air and screaming out the song’s chorus.
Vreth spoke little between songs, occasionally commanding “Circle pit, now!” The absence of audience interaction can usually lead to the downfall of a live set, but Finntroll never once disappointed. The ecstasy of the fans was obvious from the polka-esque dancing to the chanting of “Finntroll, Finntroll” once the band wrapped up their show. For a band who has made their way through San Francisco only a year ago, it is clear that they will become a permanent fixture in the black metal scene of the city in years to come.
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