finsterforstWhen is a covers EP not a covers EP? When it’s two EPs really stretching over forty minutes and without a Moonsorrow epic in sight. One part is original songs, one of ‘pop’ covers (half of which I’ve never even heard of ‘cos like that shit ceased to throw up anything interesting two decades ago but I assume it’s German rap and German indie pop).

This is sort of but not quite my introduction to Finsterforst who I gather are actually a pretty epic folk metal band normally, and from the opener ‘Bottle Gods’ they have a sound somewhere between a heavier Korpiklaani and a less demented Trollfest and earlier Finntroll with a real, genuine knack for wonderful rousing horn boosted chorus lines. Both this wry little song and the far more serious sounding follow up ‘Auf Die Zwolf’ have an epic sound to die for and staggeringly good massed vocals that make the hairs stand up. Seriously good and catchy, memorable stuff.

Then we get the title track which begins with some free form saxophone jazz (and probably supports a puppet theater live…) which then lurches into Trollfest umpah territory and proceeds to get lost in a far too controlled, safe little dance for it to be as fun as it clearly wants to be. Nope. Sorry.

‘Hangover’, coming after, is a morose and also very amusing little song of regret that is actually both funny and far too perfectly capturing the mood of the morning after to bear it at times! Seriously don’t listen if you have one or are drinking enough to get one; the pained, downbeat vocals are perfect and the pace of the song sounds like me dragging my sorry ass out of bed. Raised a smile and it’s a fine song.

Three out of four is a pretty good hit rate for an introduction to a band.

Hmm. But….

When is an introduction to the band not an introduction to the band?

When it’s #YOLO.

Apparently this is an exercise in experimentation and insanity. And from the second half of this experiment we learn the bleeding obvious: We learn that ‘Wrecking Ball’ is a mindlessly, utterly shit song with atrocious lyrics no matter who does it. Honestly even Laibach would have problems producing anything half-way not quite totally shit from it and Finsterforst do not have their touch. And yeah, right, of course the umpteenth pointless cover of ‘Beat It’ is so funny and so experimental and insane. Except of course it is none of those. Obvious, safe and dull carbon copy of a dull metalised pop song. Jeez. And no the two apparently German covers are just bland rap metal and a slightly irritating whine of a folky pop song with guitars added. Why bother? No idea.

There is a version of ‘Wild Rover’ at the end here which at least has a full hearted bellow to it; its hard to do a crap version of this, especially for a drunken folk metal band and whilst not up to the levels of the classic Pogues version or the excellent one by Týr it’s by far and away the only part of the covers section worth it and it is perfectly good.

Now let’s be clear: I love bands having fun and would always encourage them to seek potential covers outside of metal’s safety net (in fact I think it’s the best ground to go hunting on) but this section just does not work for me on any level at all. On the whole it is not insane, experimental or amusing. It’s just pretty horrible really.

No, not sure of the point of this, or how advisable it was. I suspect it will be mostly disliked by fans who will just buy the original songs individually, and ignored by the rest of us.

Funnily enough though I am going to investigate their ‘proper’ albums I am so impressed by the originals here so maybe it did one job. But would I buy this?

No. Sorry guys.

(3.5/10 Gizmo and every point for the three good original songs and Wild Rover)