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Terast mis hangund me hinge 10218

Now here’s something interesting from Estonia’s best and currently most successful Metal band. If you compare METSATÖLL’s debut album, 1999’s “Terast Mis Hangund Me Hinge” (Steel Frozen in Our Souls), with their second album, 2004’s “Hiiekoda,” which gained them international recognition and acclaim, you’ll get quite a different sound. With the original “Terast…” you had a band influenced by the kinda-epic Heavy Metal stylings of MANOWAR with some folk melodies that mostly appeared in interludes, vocal lines, or the occasional guitar harmony. With “Hiiekoda,” the folk influences were brought to the fore with the greatly increased use of Estonian bagpipes, mandolin, mouth harp and various types of zithers.

So in 2005, amid their ever-growing success, METSATÖLL rerecorded their debut album to reflect their new sound. The „10128“ part of the title indicates the year 2005, something to do with the age of the world in traditional Estonian folklore. I never officially heard the original CD, just the MP3s that they’d put on their website and the original, good It was good stuff then, but even better stuff now.

Not only do we have the increased use of traditional instruments, but METSATÖLL also takes the opportunity to tighten some songs, add some nuances and take advantage of a better, heavier production. You really get an extra punch to already good songs such as “Hundiraev” (“Wolf Rage,” check out the evil vocals under Markus’s yells) and “Põhjatuulte Pojad Ja Tütred” (“Sons and Daughters Of The Northern Winds”).

I suppose that so far this review has assumed some knowledge of METSATÖLL’s style. As I mentioned above, the base is a sorta-epic Heavy Metal, fairly straightforward and powerful. On top of this we add a good deal of Folk influences in the form of traditional instruments, Folk melodies and traditional singing. The band can really rock out when it wants to (see the title track), but they’re usually more mid-paced. Vocalist/guitarist Markus apparently has a love-it-or-hate-it manly/deep voice, but I absolutely love it. Not the most range, but he uses it well and has so much emotion that it covers that particular weakness up. The band sings in Estonian about traditional Estonian beliefs and the role of the traditional Estonian nationality in the increasingly global modern world.

This is a real treat for a METSATÖLL fan and an excellent place to start for an initiate. I still really enjoy the originals, but it’s also great to hear them come back to their original material. It’s all respectfully done, which is good to hear at a time when remix CDs are unpleasantly common. Oh yeah and as a bonus we get “Oma Laulu Ei Leia Ma Üles,“ a previously unreleased track from the “Hiiekoda” sessions. It’s also available in a limited edition leather-bound, autographed version that has me absolutely salivating.

Oh yeah, just some trivia. METSATÖLL takes its name from an old Estonian euphemism for wolf, literally meaning “wood creature.” Nobody said the actual word for wolf, “hundi,” due to a folk belief that saying the name called a wolf to attack you. Just something neat to know.

Author: Keith Stevens
Zine: The Metal Observer

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