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Terast mis hangund me hinge 10218

I have found that Folk Metal usually goes one of two ways. Either it’s heavy-hearted, morbid and intense or it’s hey nonny nonny St. Patrick’s Day jollity. “Terast mis hangund me hinge 10218” takes a sort of middle road, adding both epic and melodic heaviness and ponderous vocal styles to the mix.

Metsasöll have been around since 1998 and are something of a national institution in their native Estonia. Using flutes and traditional instruments to accompany the guitars and drums, they are regarded as a symbol of the preservation and revival of national culture and the Estonian language. They have sold out venues, created song for stage dances, and are known for yoiking and “runo songs”, which are national poems about old heroes with lots of alliteration and repetition. Regrettably searching around the internet and Metsasöll’s sites yielded no translations of the lyrics, and in any case I suspect the references would have needed a knowledge of Estonian history which I haven’t got, which created a barrier for me and others who do not have the time to delve into these things.

The first three tracks and indeed the album as a whole sound as if the singer is telling us a story. Unfortunately Estonian isn’t the most mellifluous language to sing in, at least to a Westerner’s ears. The songs have the intensity of a battle which has just taken place or is about to. A strange feature, which appears throughout the album, is the deep-voiced singer solemnly humming the chorus without words. It’s not really sing-a-long stuff. The third track “Hundiraev” livens up towards the end. It’s not quite the oompah of Finntroll but it’s along those lines and lively enough in a more serious way. “Terasetuli” is much more upbeat and has a memorably pulsating and catchy guitar riff, which has been going through my head since listening to it. The track “Mõõk” has the sound of a strange Native Indian battle cry. Its sombre intensity eventually gives way to lighter Celtic-sounding folk music and flutes. The title track follows and features a heavy guitar rhythm before “Metsahiva 1”, in which a mid-paced heavy rhythm accompanies the deep vocals. The warriors then join in with the chorus before a prolonged battle chant once again reminiscent of Native Indians starts “Metsahiva 2”. The chant brought to mind moments of Finntroll’s acoustic work “Visor om Slutet”. The track develops into a frenzied metal chorus. The last two tracks give off the feel of being at a Celtic folk festival with their catchy flute-driven choruses, while combining gentle moments with metal energy.

The music on “Terast mis hangund me hinge 10218” is impressive enough, ranging from the sombre to guitar-led catchiness. The drums beat and the choruses resound defiantly in readiness for battle. The vocals are strange to the untrained ear, indeed it’s a passionate and feelingful yet strange album. Because of the distinct language and cultural divide, I felt remote from it. There were moments of great energy and power but at times neither the music nor especially the singing managed to suck me into the experience so that I could share it properly.

Author: Andrew Doherty
Zine: MTUK Metal Zine

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