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Tharaphita
Iidsetel sünkjatel radadel

While one does see the Baltic region producing an ever-increasing number of bands, unfortunately few of these bands have proved to be worth listening. Estonian Tharaphita surprised me in a remarkably positive sense, because Iidsetel sünkjatel radadel is a fine album of proud pagan metal, composed with good taste and blending in a fitting amount of black metal elements.

With good taste, I am especially referring to the fact that Tharaphita have not attempted to drag in folk instruments for the album – for the mere sake of having them "since it is a pagan metal band"; the group plays with rock instruments only and leaves the bagpipe in the corner. Along the way, this proves to be an excellent setup, because the band conjures a mighty atmosphere by using whatever it is good at. The album is carried by strength of epic guitar riffs and structures that occasionally remind me of one Moonsorrow; the melody flows onward, constantly mutating bit by bit, until the current part is resolved and a new one picks up the ball. An angrier black metal passage finds its way into the mix once in a while, but these elements are strictly controlled and never rise to a dominant role.

Amongst all the lengthy structures and carefully injected blasting parts, a tinge of catchiness resides too: even though the album lacks huge choirs or multilayered synthesizer arrangements, there are some parts where you feel like singing along and tapping your foot to the music with a silly smile on your face. In spite of the appealing melodic content, clichés are few here – just as the harsh black metal is kept to a fitting minimum, so is the overly melodramatic moaning restrained, too. That is an excellent balance to have, and one that few manage to find.

I have no serious complaints about the sound engineering, either; while not the most powerful possible, the mixing job is adequate in all aspects. The heavy use of tom toms and bass drums is highlighted well enough, nothing about the guitars is remarkably faulty, the balance between instruments is good, et cetera; a typical soundscape of the modern metal era – rather clean, perhaps lacking that certain crunchy vibe of old four-track recordings, but not letting down the listener in general.

"Enjoy it or die", as one Colombian once remarked.

Author: MushroomStamp
Zine: Encyclopaedia Metallum
www.metal-archives.com

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