Finntroll's Mathias Lillmåns Discusses New Album "Blodsvept"
Following the 2010 release "Nifelvind" (reviewed here), Finnish folk metal outfit Finntroll is now out with new full-length album "Blodsvept."
We recently had the chance to chat up Finntroll vocalist Mathias Lillmåns (aka Vreth) to hear what he had to say about the creation of this new extreme folk mashup. Read on to find out about the band's difficulties in the studio, Finntroll's changing lyrical focus, and guitarist Skrymer working overtime on the album's artwork.
xFiruath: Jumping into the new album, where did the recordings take place?
Mathias: We were at the same place we’ve been for the last two albums, at Sonic Pump Studios here in Helsinki. I think it was 27 days total. It was sort of a nightmare, it was horrible. We played well and everything like that, but we had huge technical problems with everything going on in the studio. We thought we weren’t going to be able to finish the album on time, because we lost like eight tracks of guitar and had to re-record them again. We had problems keeping all the instruments in tune, it was a nightmare. It was hectic, we did 14 and 15 hours day almost every day.
xFiruath: Were there any remaining extra tracks that didn’t make it onto the album we’ll be hearing in the future?
Mathias: Not really no. We recorded 11 and thought we might leave out one, but they all turned out really well so we put them all on the album. There’s not going to be any bonus tracks.
xFiruath: On the lyrics, how many Christian missionaries are eaten by trolls before the end of the album?
Mathias: Not a single one, we haven’t been going that route for the last few albums. It’s been very different themes and we’ve taken a step away from the anti-Christian thing to concentrate on the attraction between humans and nature and that kind of thing.
xFiruath: How does the sound differ on this album from “Nifelvind?”
Mathias: When we started recording and doing pre-productions for this album, we weren’t satisfied with the songs, they sounded too much like the last one. They were full of these small details like that, so at some point we decided to scale it down, take away shitloads of tracks and make things simple and straightforward, maybe more catchy. So that’s the big difference, we stripped it down, concentrated on the main melodies to make it simple and groovy.
xFiruath: I really dig the artwork, it reminds me a lot of this artist DiTerlizzi. Tell me a bit about the art.
Mathias: It was our guitar player again who did that one. It’s a little bit different approach than before, because we usually have a theme for the whole album cover, but this time there’s art attached to every song, so there’s one page per song. It doesn’t have a complete theme throughout beyond style and colors. So there was shitloads to do to get all that done, he had like two weeks to get 12 really big paintings done.
xFiruath: Do you think you’ll be doing a music video for this album?
Mathias: Yeah, we are. Actually we are doing it right now, it should be finished soon and Century Media will be announcing its release through one of the bigger magazines. It’s a really cool video.
xFiruath: I’ve been listening to that cover you did of Metallica’s “The God That Failed.” What made you pick that song and how did it come together?
Mathias: I’d been thinking of doing covers for several years, but we never considered doing a cover of another rock or metal song. We were thinking of doing covers from other genres. It was the magazine Metal Hammer that contacted us because they were doing this tribute to 20 years of the “Black” album. They asked us about it. The big known songs were already assigned, so there was this list of a couple of songs we could choose from. We chose the one in our minds we could do the best cover of. I think it was pretty cool because we re-did the song, it’s totally different from the Metallica one. You can still hear that it’s the same song, but it sounds like Finntroll. That’s how I feel about covers, it should sound like the band doing the cover, not the exact same as the original. On that album there’s lots of songs that sound exactly like the original but with a different vocalist, and that’s kind of boring, so we wanted to do a total Finntroll version. The reaction has been good, it stuck out and we got really good feedback.
xFiruath: Do you have any tour dates lined up to support the new album?
Mathias: Yeah, there are lots of tour dates coming. We don’t have that much on the website yet because we can’t announce it, but yeah we will be touring. We’ll have a spring European tour and then bigger cities and summer festivals. When the real touring starts it will be August to late December all over the world.
xFiruath: What’s going on locally for you as far as the metal scene there in Finland?
Mathias: We don’t really play in Finland. We played on the “Nifelvind” album over 200 shows, but I don’t know why, we don’t really play there. The Finnish metal scene, like every guy I know is in a band and has a record deal and plays lots of shows. The folk/pagan/Viking metal scene, they aren’t big in Finland, they’re big in America and other parts of Europe for some reason.
xFiruath: What else would you like to say?
Mathias: Everybody should check out our website, we’re going to come to the U.S. and have a huge tour this year. I can’t say specific dates or anything yet, but be ready for Finntroll in the States.
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