15 years between albums is a long time in anyone’s book but Trollheims Grot were not a band I had forgotten in all those years as I fondly remembered covering their excellent last release Bloodsoaked And Ill Fated way back around the start of personally getting into this old reviewing lark. God knows what exactly happened in those missing years but it appears members dropped out just after that release around 2004 and those that still remain have hardly been resting on their laurels. The Finnish group will no doubt have some attention cast their way as they all round naked stage rambler and vocalist of Horna Spellgoth in their ranks, along with him there is also bassist TG and drummer LRH and between the trio they have played studio and live with the likes of Baptism, Demilich, Darkwoods My Betrothed, Peste Noir, True Black Dawn and Chamber Of Unlight among others. With that sort of calibre in the ranks this had high expectation from the off.

What I remembered in particular from the past and was affirmed by a most enjoyable replay of the older stuff is the electronic edge and bits of bizarre lunacy that these Trolls imbibed into their musical cosmos. Sure they were always a little bit on the “filthy” side but rather than cleaning themselves off they rolled around in the forest dirt looking for whatever mushrooms they could dig up and take, damn the consequences. This also led to them taking things down an electronic route which had a bit of the magic seen in the work of bands such as Mysticum. Perhaps Aligned is not quite so experimental but the opening and title track proves that strange “synthetics and noise” are still very much enmeshed in the mould and provided by Spellgoth himself. It’s punishing stuff throughout and whiplashes away like an errant out of control robot. Bristling with a futuristic almost sci-fi fervour the machine has completely run wild, clanking and belching out oil all over the shop. The rotten roll groove defined by the likes of Rebel Extravaganza Satyricon is found amidst the melange of wrecked machinery and Spellgoth’s vocals run from growls to full on dictatorial hollers. Eerie and nihilistic this is the sound of an earth in turmoil battered by technology taking over and survivors making a last desperate stand. Musically the past is very much alive as is the future, listening to the juddering conglomeration of riffs on songs such as ‘Deathless Form’ I cannot help thinking of Mayhem making their Grand Declaration Of War on humanity.

Razor sharp and littered with stalking sinister riffs the barrage of ‘Omega Angel’ continues to cast fire down on a scourged planet, the destruction is delivered without a shred of mercy and the drumming battery is massive as underlying synth weirdness pulls the pieces together. The sun turns black and everything thrashes away like some sort of dystopian hell scape before short atmospheric and nearly instrumental number ‘Twilight’ casts a cold desperate gloom on proceedings. Any hope for humanity? I’m not sure what ‘LXFR’ stands for but the sonic pulses flowing through the aggressive melody suggest that the planet is taking a real savage scourge leaving it all but uninhabitable. With ‘Earth’s Last Stand’ wrapping things ultimately up in style this is an album that makes a perfect soundtrack for Armageddon and one can only wonder if this future shock is one that will prescient before Trollheims Grot emerge again, it’s certainly one guaranteed to leave the listener battle-scarred.

(8/10 Pete Woods)