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Abandoned Elysium
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Brave Old World

There aren’t too many bands quite like Loits. Never mind they hail from metal not-bed Estonia. Never mind they brand their heathen-hearted black metal “Flak ’n’ Roll.” Never mind, most of all, the seemingly dodgy uniforms they employ for promo pictures. In fact, just focus on the music: Either the rock-out underbelly of Bathory’s Blood Fire Death rubbed robust yet not too raw, or the considerably raw Vultyr rockin’ out some Carpathian Forest covers but with an exceedingly dire purpose. And if that medium doesn’t wholly sate you, focus on Loits’ message: The remembrance of and reverence for their Estonian forefathers who proudly fought in World War II. (Those two elements combined, when you really think about it, makes ’em considerable contemporaries of Canuck nutters Operation Winter Mist.) Despite an incredibly prolific profile so far this decade, second album Vere Kutse Kohustab is ground-zero for all this exceptionally fascinating, blackened singularity—and, nearly a year after its release, even more worth your scrutiny.

“Loits was conceived with the idea to do things a little differently from how we were used to doing them before,” begins vocalist/guitarist Lembetu about that singular aesthetic. “I recruited some of my comrades who share my views in order to make art not just for art’s sake, but in order to also express our convictions and notions through art. We shared then and share to this day a similar understanding of how things are in the world, and of good music. All this keeps the band tightly bound together and acts as an ideal engine for development. Naturally, Loits at its moment of conception wasn’t what it is now, but we’ve possessed certain unique traits of character, if you will, since the beginning. To put it simply, through personal growth, both musically and ideologically, of the members of Loits the band’s image has changed, and will indubitably keep changing in the future, as well. To its main goals, though, this band will stay true until the end of its existence. Thus, both in its music as well as message, the band is sincere through and through.”

Record covers on down to lyrics and said uniforms, there’s a certain totality to Loits that would potentially lend itself well to the visual/video realm. Remarks Lembetu, “I feel at this point in time that we’ve managed to create a nearly ideal whole for Loits, and grafting a moving image to this isn’t such an arduous task; in fact, we’ve actually started with this. Namely, we presented our first professional video to the song ‘Kodu’ late last year here in Estonia, and I must admit I had shivers down my spine when I first saw it. I wasn’t the only one, and we’ll just have to hope that it’ll have the ability to touch those who stand farther from our culture and don’t know the Estonian language with the same power that it touched us.”

Now, about those uniforms. Erroneously, Loits have often been accused of being an NS band, namely for using strikingly similar iconography (cue Laibach example). Lembetu lucidly clarifies the situation. “Waffen SS really was declared a criminal institution in Nuremberg, but with a small additional clause—the Baltic legions must be viewed apart from the rest of the SS units. They weren’t declared criminal. To explain this a bit further, in 1939 the Soviet Union occupied Estonia through deception and violence, and thus began the Red Terror that can very well be called a genocide of the Estonian nation. Those who could took to the woods or escaped overseas to the free world. The Estonians hiding in the forests started an organized armed resistance against the Soviet occupants, and by the time the German forces marched into Estonia, half of the country—the south of Estonia—was already liberated from the occupants. Seeing an opportunity to stand against the sworn hereditary enemy with the most modern armament, the first Estonians joined the German army. There’s a saying: when a murderer has forced his way into your home, you won’t stop to look who’s handing you the cudgel; you’ll take the cudgel and bash the intruder straight between the eyes. This was what some of our grandfathers did.

“Any affection towards Germany or worship of Nazi ideology can be discarded,” the man confidently declares. “It’s not an issue. Estonian men had only one aim—free Estonia! On the Tannenberg line, our forefathers put up quite a fight against the enemy, and this can be construed as straight freedom fighting. The same year the Estonian government was formed, and Estonia became de jure independent again. The support of foreign countries was sought after vehemently, but we were left alone with our worries; thus, the freedom was short-lived. Pretty soon the Red Army occupied Estonia again, and the terror was bestowed upon us more ferociously than ever before.

“My answer rarely varies,” Lembetu concludes, relating the influence his proud heritage has on Loits’ totality. “Estonians are such a small nation that there should be at least a drop of nationalist blood in each and every one of us; this is important in order to even survive as a nation. At the moment there is peace in Estonia, and we are an independent nation, but our future is still full of dark shadows, which makes this drop of nationalist blood in us boil sometimes. We, Loits, poured our feelings into music. Thus, Loits is at one moment full of battle rage and fury and hopelessly melancholic the next.”

Author: Nathan T. Birk
Zine: Unrestrained!

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