Troll Rock

Overview

Troll rock is a style of loud, aggressive electronic music characterised by pounding, monotonous, drum patterns and guttural vocals. "Melody" is provided by percussive instruments triggering sampled industrial sounds. One music critic famously described a troll concert as sounding like "two Terminators fighting in an iron foundry and cheered on by mountain gorillas".

Troll musicians (and their fans) adopt a very brutal, aggressive clothing style, mixing futuristic and pseudo-gothic elements. Studded leather and sharp accessories are common. Uglifying make-up is expected. Hard-core trolls wear tusks and horns (prosthetics or even implants).

Mainstream media has played up the violent aspects of the troll subculture, and it is true that there are inner-city troll gangs involved in criminal activities. Music fans are quick to point out that, although troll music does attract aggressive personalities, only a small minority of trolls have criminal tendancies and they were violent before they were trolls, not because they are trolls.

History

From its origins in the underground scene of 2011, troll rock has risen in profile and is now acknowledged as the main musical movement of the decade with downloads reaching millions every month. An entire subculture has grown around the troll "look", while mainstream cultural penetration has produced such oddities as the Unified Wrestling Federation star called the Troll King and a Saturday-morning cartoon, Kid Troll and Goblins.

Experts disagree on who actually originated the style but it came to prominence in Vancouver, Canada, when local band Uruk-hai played a series of gigs at The Mine, a popular nightclub. The club's owner, Chris Tooklin, claims credit for inventing the term "troll rock" for use in publicity material.

The style rapidly caught on and within weeks garage bands across North America were racing to release troll rock downloads of their own. Clubs dedicated to the music sprang up in several major cities, with perhaps the most famous and prestigious now being the New York branch of The Mine franchise. Despite this, Vancouver remains the movement's spiritual home and the Mecca for trolls everywhere, with several high-profile clubs such as the Troll Club being popular.

The biggest name in troll rock today is Vancouver band Granite Head, formed by Uruk-hai co-founder Bill Gruph ("Billy G") following Uruk-hai's acrimonious split in 2013. Gruph took the then-unprecedented step of recruiting a female vocalist, Susan Giuffreia ("Suzi G") to front his new band. For the last twelve months, Granite Head's downloads have consistently topped the charts and the band has sold out every gig.

In the summer of 2014 a new designer drug, Troll Dust, appeared on the streets. Inhaled, the drug produces an adrenaline surge that provides a few minutes of superhuman strength and high resistance to pain. The drug is addictive and repeated use leads to severe heart problems and eventual death. Natuarally this drug has proven popular with criminal trolls despite its dangers.