Wednesday 9 December 2015

Review: Tonttu – '6: Also Sprach Gnomethustra'

'6: Also Sprach Gnomethustra'

Finnish band Tonttu in their own words make Anti-gnomenmartialindustrialneofolkmetal. What that means in real terms is some wonderfully dark, often uneasy, but altogether strangely alluring music with a heavily anti-gnome stance running through it. Blending elements of martial industrial, neofolk, and metal, Tonttu craft and utterly discombobulated sound that is no laughing matter. Chapter six of the band's ongoing conceptual apocalyptic folk saga presented in visual, literary and musical form '6: Also Sprach Gnomethustra' continues the Lovecraftian concepts and further develops the band's sound with more of the electro-industrial sounds coming to the fore.

Songs such as 'Intro – Gnomen Est Gnomen', 'Tonttumarssi', and 'Outro – Alea Gnomen est' favour programmed martial beats, manic black metal flavoured vocals, metal guitars and liberal use of electronics to create a manic but strangely accessible sound that encourages the listener to join in the chant against the gnome scourge.

The likes of 'Saunan Tonttu' with it's neoclassical instrumentation, and growled/spoken lyrics, and strangely creepy electronics of 'Kolossus, Tontut ja Korpit (Kunnioittaen Ethernalia)' take the centre of the album into an unexpected and heavily lyric-focussed tangent that adds to the narrative concept of the album.

The production has a nice low-fi tone to it, but that doesn't mean that it is low quality. Everything feels DIY and hands-on, however it tries to present the music and the elements within in a clear way that doesn't hide behind over distorting everything in the mix in a misguided “necro” style.

'6: Also Sprach Gnomethustra' is a strange but addictive listen. The five original tracks are addictive in an unexpected way, and the remixes on the end of the track list further expand the esoteric nature of the recording. If you like your music fun but challenging and, most importantly, your gnomes dead, then Tonttu may very well be up your street.

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