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Primeval Force

I think I realized I was a sickening nerd when I spent a while trying to figure out if that “Th” was a dental fricative or an alveolar plosive. Y’know, an American “th” (IPA θ) or a Germanic “t.” The group’s Estonian and Estonian doesn’t have a θ, so…I’m getting carried away. The important thing is that this is a head-banging album by some modern heathens.

THARAPHITA was founded as ANCESTRAL DAMNATION in 1995 by a bunch of musicians who were veterans of the Estonian underground. And I mean really underground. They changed their name the same year and self-released some material. “Primeval Force” is their third full-length and their first on Nailboard Records, Estonia’s largest metal label. They’ve supported bands such as PARADISE LOST and HYPOCRISY. Like label-mates METSATÖLL, they’re riding a nationalist surge by appealing to a nearly forgotten past. I can safely say they’re in my top three Estonian bands.

This is definitely Pagan Metal. The band starts out with a Black base, at least as far as guitar tuning goes, but plays a more straightforward Metal style, making the music sound a bit rawer than it actually is. You can tell that there are some Folk influenced riffs in there, but only if you’re used to finding the old-fashioned sounds in Pagan Metal. Vocalist/guitarist Ank roars through the album with a shouting bellow that should seem monotonous, but really isn’t. I should mention that of the songs, only “10000 Eestlast” and “Manalateekond” are sung in the band’s native language. There is a keyboardist, Draconic, but since he’s also a guitarist the keyboards have a pretty backseat role.

There’s a bit of “looking-back-on-defeat” soloing in the last few minutes of “Manalateekond,” but for the most part this is shield-biting goodness for anyone in the mood for a good battle. Sure, the band’s not afraid to use acoustic guitars to make a point, as in the beginning of “Passing Into Anguish” or the primal introduction of “Tongue Of Flame,” but you also don’t need to worry about anything too cerebral. THARAPHITA may lack METSATÖLL catchiness or subtlety, but if you want your Metal purer, rougher around the edges but still appealing to a pagan past, “Primeval Force” is a good starting point.

Author: Keith Stevens
Zine: The Metal Observer

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