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Estonia's Metsatöll started at the end of the 1990's, originally playing epic heavy metal with some influences from ancient Estonian folklore. The then three-piece (Markus - vocals and guitar, Factor - drums, Andrus - bass) released their debut album "Terast mis hangund me hinge" ("Steel frozen in our souls") at that time. A big change in the band's direction occurred in 2000 with the addition of good friend Varulven, a fellow self taught in several ancient Estonian folk instruments. The band fused their heavy metal with old Estonian folk music and created some interesting sounding folk metal. Since that time both original bassist Andrus and drummer Factor have left the band, replaced by KuriRaivo and Atso. They also made a video in 2002 for the song "Hundi Loomine", which appears on this CD. This is when I first heard of Metsatöll, but they didn't really grab my attention, likewise upon my first listen to the second album "Hiiekoda" I was rather nonplussed. A couple more listens though, and "Hiiekoda" is really growing on me. Metsatöll have quite a unique sound, thanks most likely to their Estonian heritage. The production is great, with all the instruments clear and crisp, which thankfully lets you hear the really nice bass guitar lines. You can be guaranteed value for money here, with "Hiiekoda" clocking in a whopping 68 minutes with 18 tracks, and also some really nice artwork. Metsatöll have made a really good album with "Hiiekoda", and received the award for Best Album in the Metal / Punk category at the Estonian Music Awards 2005 (local equivalent of a Grammy) for their efforts. Any fans of folk/epic/pagan metal should check this band out; I think we'll definitely be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

Author: Richard Valder
Zine: Gloden Lake

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