(Here’s Round Three of Trollfiend’s head-to-head, no-holes-barred cage fight with Amorphis. Trollfiend gets a whiff of perforated bowel at the end — but whose? To catch up on what’s going on here, read this post.)
The first two rounds of this gladiator combat were pretty much write-offs for yours Trolly…I knew the opponents I would be facing, was intimately familiar with all their savagery and skill…I knew I was no match for either. I still faced them in the ring, because I knew the sight of my blood would arouse you, and I am here for no lesser reason than to have you all cheer over my broken corpse.
However, my next opponent, 1996’s Elegy, is a relative unknown. I have a vague recollection of facing it once before, many years ago, and as I recall I defeated it readily by exposing the weak spot in its armour, the clean vocals of Pasi Koskinen. However, I am an old man now, and not as swift with the killing blows as I once was. Elegy has had time to practice, train, and learn MY weaknesses. I don’t know how this fight will turn out, but I know for sure that it will be bloody.
The opening attack, ‘Better Unborn’, is a clever manoeuver, taking my love of Middle Eastern rhythms into account, but I parry it easily. This is worrisome, however…an album released in 1996 has LEARNED MY WEAKNESSES. As I fret over this development, my heart grows cold, because ‘Better Unborn’ was a feint, and it worked. While I was worrying, ‘Against Widows’ came in and smashed off the side of my skull with the dual hammerblow of harsh and clean actually working together in a song.
The lyrics are weird, but I suspect it has something to do with the content, which is English translations of the Kanteletar, a collection of Finnish traditional poetry from the 1800s. You get the gist, anyway. Amorphis likes WILFs.
Shaking off the daze and bits of brain pulp, I stagger to my feet only to be met with ‘The Orphan’. Ah, the space-rock synths are back. The Orphan’s clean sung cries for help fall on deaf ears as the crowd screams for blood. I chop him up into tiny bits and throw the gobbets to the death-crazed audience.
Amorphis tries to come back at me with the beloved harsh vocals of Tomi Koivusaari slashing at my dangly parts in ‘On Rich And Poor’, but their reversion to the ‘Pasi Defense’ allows me to easily parry and land a kidney shot. Maybe Elegy hasn’t learned my weaknesses after all. Maybe, just maybe, I will come out of this one alive.
They make a good try with ‘My Kantele’, again starting strong with the Tomi Technique, but again falling short with noodly synths and clean vocals, which I didn’t mind in ‘Against Widows’ but which are now really starting to grate on my nerves. Again I parry, and manage to jab it again in the kidney spot. That’s gotta hurt. I think I nicked something internal on that one.
‘Cares’ opens with a nice rock riff and some not-aggravating synths…I’m starting to wonder if Elegy has regained its footing, especially when they get me with Tomi again…but then something happens. The song wanders off into something that sounds suspiciously like a polka. But this is not the awesome black-metal-humppa you might expect from fellow Finnish metal gods Finntroll. It’s weirdly peppy, and feels very out of place. The rest of the song degenerates into jazzy synth-ridden bleh, and I get in a good head shot. Blood sprays the walls.
‘Song Of The Troubled One’ makes me laugh. It’s a feeble attempt to counterattack. Even Tomi’s harsh vocals can’t save it. I shrug it off and press my advantage…I smell death close at hand.
‘Weeper On The Shore” is the aurual equivalent of guts flopping on to the sand. That wasn’t death I smelled, it was perforated bowel. Well, close enough. I might be able to come back from a ripping gut wound, but I don’t think Elegy has my intestinal fortitude.
However, the title track is up next, and bands usually put a lot of their punishing moves into title tracks, so I am a little concerned. Can they recover from what seems like a sure defeat? Thankfully, it seems not. Instead I am treated to seven minutes of Elegy begging for its life with weeping moans. The scream of the crowd is the only music I hear as I raise my sword for the killing blow. Elegy has nothing left with which to fight me but an instrumental and an acoustic rendering of My Kantele. I sense them pounding at my body, but I feel no pain as the sword comes down. The resultant jet of gore glistens like rubies in the waning sunlight. Can it be true? Is that the sweet taste of victory?
After Round 3: Amorphis 2, Trollfiend 1.