Troll – Troll (2018) REVIEW

As Portland’s hand-crafted, artisinal stoner doom scene blossoms like a thousand fluttering 18th century bosoms at a naval send-off Troll are set to increase their reach beyond the wind-tunnel of the Colombia river basin’s reach with a new record finished and on it’s mighty way for Shadow Kingdom Records in 2018. In the meantime we’re provided with proof of their hairy-armpit beasted existence with CD and cassette issues of their first post-demo recording ‘Troll’ that was originally released digitally in 2016 and on 12″ LP in 2017. If you’ve heard it before let me congratulate you on being excused from any of my rambling outside of shared celebration for it’s inimitable gene-splicing of rollicking stoner metal, traditional high-fantasy doom metal a la Pagan Altar, and the wily gloom-tones of early Pallbearer. Few collaborations conjure such mania, joy and personal dread so seamlessly as this debut from Troll and it is well worth revisiting.

Seeing this band on the same bill as R.I.P. a few months ago it hit me how well the relative phantasm-epic spaciousness of Troll played off the street rockin’ set of more recent R.I.P. efforts. There is just enough rollicking in their mountain lurking doom and a good part of that is now former vocalist John aka Rainbo. His Ozzy-meets-Pagan Altar but far less nasal tone than either vocals are a strong thread through the sub-genre tossing-and-turning of Troll‘s sound. If the dude is still looking for a gig he should tryout for Hour of 13, as he comes across like a subdued but way hippy version of Phil Swanson at times. Stylistic comparisons and influences aside ‘Troll’ is a fantastic sounding album with an exacting amount of fuzz on the guitar’s mossy foil and a mix that gives plenty of room for their great earthen drum sound.

I find myself obsessed with this record as they spin a yarn as well as any Manilla Road record but still manage to touch upon classic Sleep-ish riffs and doom metal’s history without sounding like a retro project. The tracklist has an intentionality to it that goes from buoyant stoner doom that upticks it’s heaviness while moving towards the righteous send-off of “Savage Thunder”. All of the doom songs I’d heard so far this year left my brain with a fit of bloody sneezing as “Savage Thunder” cleared the webbed nonsense cluttering my mind, it is the strongest of many top-tier moments on ‘Troll’. I know there is an endless stream of music trying to full every one of your holes every day and can only suggest that this ancient 2016 half hour is well worth jumping on even if you live in a depraved world of media opulence where anything older than a month is already dust in a coffin. “An Eternal Haunting” is another huge track, probably one of the more vocally emotive performances with a lyrical thread leading into “Infinite Death” that I personally loved. You’ve got time for 35 minutes of this, especially if you’re into the idea of Pagan Altar meets Pallbearer. This one sticks and I’m looking forward to their next move(s).

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Artist Troll
Type Album
Released October 1, 2016 [Digital] | March 16, 2018 [CD/Cassette]
BUY/LISTEN on Shadow Kingdom Records Bandcamp! Follow Troll on Facebook
Genres
Stoner Metal, Heavy Psych, Doom Metal

Upon a wave of fire. 4.25/5.0

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