Where do I start explaining how amazing TrollfesT are? I know! The same place as I always start – on a slight tangent.
First things first, if you have never seen an 80’s film called The Dark Crystal, you need to go and stand in the corner and think very hard about your life. Then go and watch it.
There is a scene in the film where the main character has to choose between three very similar crystal shards to determine which one is the missing piece of the original, and which he will need in order to make the Dark Crystal whole again. He plays a chord on a set of pipes, and the resonance of that chord causes the real shard to glow and hum in response. That is precisely what happens to me when I listen to TrollfesT. Their music produces the same resonance inside me, and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and happy.
As for why it appeals to me so much, it’s the gathering together of so many different elements that I love all together in one place, in one band.
In the 2002 film Queen of the Damned, there is a scene where the vampire Lestat joins a young gypsy girl in playing violin on the beach, and as soon as I heard it, I was utterly enchanted by the sound. I was fascinated how an instrument that I was really familiar with could sound so very alien. Ever since then I have been really interested in the sound of foreign musical scales and instruments, and how the WAY something is played can sound like a different PLACE.
I have a bit of an odd taste in music at times, but in my heart I am all about the metal, and the louder and harder the better. Drums will always be the best part of metal for me; double bass drum purring is one of my favourite sounds, and makes me go a little bit weak at the knees. Add on top of that some hard and heavy guitars and bass, and I am sold.
TrollfesT have taken these two elements and blended them together into True Norwegian Balkan Metal. The very first time I heard them, I instantly knew that this was something special and I knew that I had to hear more.
One of the things that I very quickly found with this band – and something else that is massively important in my life – is that they are absolutely hilarious, and never fail to make me laugh. Manskow has a Youtube channel that is jammed full of music videos and tour diaries and I can happily spend a whole evening watching their exploits and laughing my arse off. There is a genuine sense of fun and camaraderie that comes across in everything they do.
One of my personal favourite moments is the triumphant solo in ‘Hevlette’ from the Brumlebassen album, which makes me giggle like an idiot every single time I hear it.
All of the TrollfesT albums are stories, featuring the exploits of different recurring troll characters, and each album has a different theme. Even without immediately understanding the words, the music always paints the scene, and then what normally happens for me is that I start looking into the lyrics – and end out falling about laughing. Although the overall style has varied slightly from album to album, I have yet to hear a track that I do not like across the 6 albums that I have.
I had their latest album Kaptein Kaos on pre-order, and it arrived on 27th March…and it has not been out of my car stereo since. This is now two months later, and I have not become bored of listening to it. I still grin whenever certain tracks start up because of the rush I get, and if I happen to arrive at my destination with one of two particular tracks playing, I still cannot get out of my car before they have finished. I am aware that I do get very caught up in music sometimes, but TrollfesT seem to have a special way of enveloping you with sound.
As someone who has the same level of musical ability as your average garden shed, I am constantly blown away by the sheer diversity and volume of musical talent that is ploughed into every album. It wasn’t until I sat and watched the behind the scenes videos on the making of a couple of the albums that I truly began to appreciate exactly how many different elements they build into their music. Not only are the band themselves massively talented, they have a huge pool of other musicians that they draw from, both in the studio and on tour.
(In both of the shows that I have been to, they had the amazingly talented Sareeta playing violin for them, who just so happens to be the sister of Lodd Bolt.)
Yet another thing I love about TrollfesT – which I understand equally makes them inaccessible for some people – is that the lyrics are largely written in Trollspråk, which is a mixture of Norwegian and German. For me, part of the joy is sitting down with the lyrics sheet and translating what I am hearing. It’s like reading a book at the same time, with the story unfolding as I work my way through it. Songs written in your own language can just kind of HAPPEN to you without you really having to get involved. For me, investing the time and energy into understanding what I’m hearing makes for a deeper and more engaging experience.
Their live show is something else as well. I’ve seen them twice in the last 6 weeks, and they have been two of the best gigs I have ever been to (bearing in mind that I have been going to festivals and concerts for the last 28 years, that really is saying something). The sheer chaotic [kaotisk?] energy, the enthusiasm, the music, the costume changes, the humour; they really do have it all.
TrollfesT stole my heart, and I don’t think I can ever do enough to properly thank them for the sheer joy and happiness they have added, and continue to add, to my life ❤