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Vere Kutse Kohustab

The title of this very interesting work means "Obliged By The call of Blood", and these brilliant Estonians are obviously immensely proud of their cultural heritage. It is really no wonder that they are sensitive about such issues since the Baltic countries only regained their independense some thirteen years ago under most turbulent circumstances. The lyrics are all in their native tongue, but thankfully enough they have translated the titles into English. Their label - that has now released the band's second full-lenght album - is Lithuanian.

Anyway, as scary as their ultra-patriotism and war-aesthetics (front cover for instance features a statue of some mediaeval hero with sword in hand) may seem to some, one should look beyond that - besides it's not excactly anything new in this - and on the way bear in mind that they come from a country where freedom is not taken for granted but fought for, and you will discover a work of quite stunning quality and beauty that offers a rare blend of originality and an almost extreme degree of accessibility. This album contains material of such exciting variety that it could - or better yet should - make almost any band within the black metal-milieu envious! Not that black metal is in anyway a satisfactory description of their musical position; you'll find as diverse elements here as mellow acoustic parts, folk-music, excerpts from military marches, a lot of classical heavy metal riffing and both black metal- and clean vocal style on this powerpacked album! The band members themselves - having existed since 1996 and allegedly being the fastest growing band in the Baltic countries - prefer to call it Flak N'Roll (!), yet another reference to war. That might just be as good a name as any! Anyway, despite this wild mix it is not at all obscure, but actually a highly commercial product, which at times - at least on the most straight forward tracks like say number 2 and 5 - sounds a bit like the new Satyricon and/or Rammstein, only - if anything - more interesting...

Give this a shot and you'll widen your horizon for sure! A damn fine work with top songs and excellent production and superb sound quality. Baltic metal is obviously on the move! Be on the lookout!

Rating: 10/10

Author: Richard Saure
Zine: Beat The Blizzard

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