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Metsatoll - Karjajuht

Label: Spinefarm
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7.5/ 10

Been a decade since first acquainted with this Estonian outfit, thanks to Nailboard label rep/countryman attending an annual Helsinki-based industry confab. At the time, the Viking/pagan field was less crowded and while many late-comers may have gained greater notoriety, that doesn’t diminish Metasatoll’s considerable abilities. Fiddle, or similarly stringed native instrument, kicks off ‘Kulmking’ the first of a dozen rollicking Estonian sung tunes, but as Korpiklaani proved, that’s no barrier to mass acceptance.


Amid the dizzying sacbutt rhythms (like a snake charmer on speed), ‘Loome Mesti’ possesses staccato metal (almost industrialized) riffs. Ditto ‘Oo’. In contrast, ‘See On See Maa’ is mellower, something of a dirge/ballad, at times nearly a cappella, yet with the stodgy, start-stop guitar chug and omnipresent woodwinds. Follow-up, ‘Must Hunt’ (in foreign language, despite the apparent Anglicized title) is a lively gig, the kind this genre’s fans gravitate towards. However, Karajuht isn’t a wall-to-wall alcohol-fueled party album. ‘Mullast’ grinds and the title cut utilizes gang backing vocals (in a whisper?), before ending with ‘Talisman’, the most conventionally structured piece. And now for something completely different.

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