Aktarum – EP + Full CD: Game of Trolls (self-released)

  Van Muylem    5 december 2015

The guy’s from Aktarum describe themselves as Troll Metal from Belgium and are clearly influenced by bands like Metsatöll, Fintroll, Korpiklaani … Expect heavy stuff, grunting, spectacular riffs and great stories about trolls! I loved their gig in Vosselaar (Biebob) as opening band for Svartsot, Metsatöll and Arkona. I was so delighted that I decided to review their most recent material, in the hope to help them reach out to more people!

EP: Gang of Trolls

Opening Game sounds very symphonic and could be used to open a live gig if they use some theatrical effects. It also could be used for RPG PC games with its grandeur and bombastic feel. Game of Trolls is a bomb track with a death metal vibe on speed and with cool synths! The vocals are simply great and pure into the right feel. It’s a must play during gigs, for sure with the backing vocals firing up the audience (as they proved it during their live show). Light up The Torch sounds very like throwing the torch to start the party and lightening up our faces and making us forget about what happens in the rest of the world! Once again this one feels like written for concerts and heating up the temperature! So let’s continue the party! Trollforever could be the battle cry in the midst of an epic battle. Feel the rage, feel the hammering and slashing: feel the cracking of bones! It’s hammering time! Least you can say after these 3 tracks is that their music deserves to get a spot in a PC game or get a Comic about their adventures! But let’s party on! Enchanted Forest is a fueled up death metal song with a synth that throws a party and hammering drums (as if smashing skulls was the aim). Trolls will Be Back is a nice instrumental that ends this EP with a bit of storytelling about the next outbreak, so there will be more!

Full CD: Game of Trolls

It starts with a symphonic anthem and some trolls running and fooling around a fire, preparing for great stories. Fight to Death is the first real song and sounds like a Folk Metal party versus a metal polka with a very melodic sound, heavy grunting and a medieval touch. Now that I have seen Svartsot on stage I can say there is some influence from them too (the fun part). The sharp guitars and heavy drums (a bit like Mister Atso from Metsatöll) give it a special touch. The synthesizer is also very important (just like on stage). I feel a bunch of people having fun with the tool they have mastered and that’s a great feeling! Black Troll has a nice flute in it, whilst the lyrics are more into horror. Sound wise it’s pretty symphonic/melodic. Jurassic Troll almost sounds like a gigantic joke about Jurassic Park and maybe that is how it is meant to be? On stage this is the kind of song to get a lot of positive feedback (the guitar restart half way and the screaming lifts it to a higher level and faster tempo). The main title tells us more about this gang and is a perfect gig starter! It’s melodic, speeded up, with lots of grunting and screaming, sharp guitars and raffling drums. It’s the perfect show off! Troll in the Forest starts acoustic, with a medieval touch. After that it feels like breakfast time for the trolls! I even heard a bit of a polka halfway. The backings sound a bit like a sacred bunch of people trying to hunt away the trolls with their voice. Rock’n Troll is a real wake up track, perfectly suited for gigs with an exploding drum set and a fat bass sound! The guitars are razor sharp! Spiritual Troll sounds like a folk metal marching order for Trolls! Introll Army is a short interlude with a bluesy sound on a medieval background. Troll Army is the next one, pretty logic, right? It sounds like a war declaration, or at least like the beginning of an epic war. Somehow the synths gives it a positive feel, almost like throwing a fighting party (or pogo a gogo). The March of the Trolls is yet another interlude. I feel it’s a bit like bragging modus about winning a war (or is it my imagination?). Well with the next one it might be revealed: Victory Troll! I have a good feeling with this dark and fast track, taking us deeper into the world of Trolls (and their legends). Music wise it’s also very interesting with more than enough variation in speed and melody! It feels a bit like climbing on a war horse without knowing how to handle the horse and just follow it whilst hacking and slashing and somehow surviving the whole epic battle! Troll Bard is wordless, totally devoted to the instruments and on the same rhythm as the saddled horse! Seems like we really survived it! Imperial Troll is the last bomb that gets dropped, one last chance to speed up and hit them all! Fire, rage, energetic, speed, high dexterity … nothing but good words! And yet you don’t want to miss the hidden track at the end: a very into party folk metal song that will use your last energy and will make you sweat! That’s closing with a big fat boom and dragging us to use the repeat function!

I could drop names like Cradle of Filth, Mortiis (old school), Finntroll, Korpiklaani … but these guys from Belgium showed enough potential and proved to have their own Troll style! I hope to see them at the legendary Trolls et Légendes festival in Mons, but it’s not me who decides and there are many candidates!

Anyway: they proved on stage and in the studio that they are worth it!