Well, it seems as if Estonia has quite the burgeoning metal scene. And it seems quite a diverse one as well. Human Ground’s self-titled release is the most commercial effort yet from this former Eastern Bloc country incorporating aspects of melodic death metal (a la Sweden) and thrash metal into a well executed blend. But this doesn’t mean that they’re primed for mall-metal oblivion.
Comparisons to Swedish metal acts such as In Flames and Arch Enemy are inevitable, however. And mostly to these bands’ later output. You won’t get much blast-beating or incredibly harsh vocals and atonal guitar (it does appear on occasion). Instead Human Ground borrows elaborate dueling guitars and catchy, hook-laden melodies and combines it with impressive rhythms more akin to mid-tempo thrash. Sounds nice and formulaic, right? Thankfully quiet and introspective interludes pepper the songs providing a break from the frantic thrash/death fest.
Complimenting the music are impressive vocals from founder Valm and 17-year-old Pille! While it sounds like Valm does most of the clean vocals, Pille rips through the metal vocals like a hungry bear. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of the band that I realized that these demonic vox belonged to a young girl. Otep and Angela Gossow better watch out as there seems to be a new generation of female vocalists stepping up to the plate in a big way.
Human Ground has presented an impressive first effort that borrows heavily from European melodic death but still manages to have a sound all their own. Given the time to develop and establish themselves, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Human Ground on the roster of big metal labels such as Century Media. Their sound is incredibly catchy while maintaining that technical edge - enough to please any true fan of metal. If this is the current state of metal in Estonia, the world best prepare itself.