FEJD — Trolldom (review)

FEJD — Trolldom album cover Album · 2016 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Having now been around for fifteen years as a folk artist, Swedish group Fejd have finally done what has always seemed to be an inevitability: they've become a metal band. Having formed with members with a metal background there has always seemed to be an underlying metal feeling to Fejd's music even though previously they weren't employing guitars at all except as a very rare additional instrument on a couple of their releases. It's something that has always made them a part of the metal scene even more than their shared membership with acts such as Pathos and Nostradameus, with some even going as far as calling their previous work folk metal. That isn't really true, but they were always the closest you were ever going to get to a folk metal band without said band actually being metal.

Except now they really are metal. Trolldom (2016) is Fejd's fourth full-length album. It sees the band add to their line-up guitarist Per-Owe Solvelius, whose metal credits include acts such as Trident and Igneous Human. His presence really highlights for me how influenced by metal Fejd really were on previous releases, as his guitar slides into Fejd's existing sound seamlessly as if it was always there. What Fejd are doing on Trolldom otherwise hasn't really changed despite the genre shift from folk music to folk metal. This is still very much recognisable as a Fejd album. For any other folk act adding actual metal into the equation would probably be a much bigger deal but Fejd make it seem like the most natural thing in the world.

Lead single and opener Härjaren kicks things off as one might expect a Fejd album to start, but then the guitar roars into life and asserts that Fejd have changed. Its definitely one of my favourite tracks from Trolldom and proved really addictive for me in the wait for the rest of the album to arrive. While there are still some softer sections to be found, as is the case with most folk metal releases, Fejd have absolutely gone full metal with Trolldom, with riffs featuring prominently in all eight tracks. The riffs show a decent level of variety with touches of a number of metal genre creeping in, notable power metal on the track Svart. Another notable track is Bed för din själ, which is actually an older Fejd song, all the way back from the demo Huldran (2004), that has been updated. This version features guest vocals from Linn Katrin Øygard of Norwegian folk rock/metal act Bergtatt.

I can't say that every track here is as immediately satisfying the way Härjaren is, but subsequent listens have shown Trolldom to be a real grower. I'm not sold on whether making the jump into metal was the right move for Fejd as yet, only time and more releases will tell for that (I am presuming that since Per-Owe Solvelius was added to the line-up full time that this sound change is here to stay and that Trolldom isn't a one-off, like an inverse of the way folk metal acts do non-metal albums), but I do think that Trolldom at least is an excellent folk metal album that draws on folk influences that are a used a little less often in a metal context (especially compared to Celtic folk). It's certainly the kind of album I've been interested to hear Fejd try their hands at ever since I first discovered them through their debut album Storm (2009). I prefer it a little to their previous offering Nagelfar (2013), but at this point my personal favourite Fejd album has to remain the masterful Eifur (2010).
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