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Must album

A new meaning for "Black Album"

PREPARE YOUR MP-40's AND DO SOME SOVIET KILLING!!! Yeah, that's the overall feeling of the album. Granted, I can't understand anything from the lyrics because they're written in Estonian, but once you read any of their interviews, you'll see what they're all about: the Estonian role in WWII.

In case you don't know what this means, I'll give you the bottom line: first Estonia was occupied by the Soviets, who started "cleaning" the country of anti-communist stuff. Subsequently, Nazi Germany invades Estonia and takes control of the country. During both events, Estonians were forced to take sides, but forget about the 'Good Allies vs. Evil Axis' idea, that was not the case. Estonians didn't have to choose who to side with. Rather, they had to choose who they would fight against: the Nazi and their intents, feared by everyone in case they won the war, or the Soviets, who would quickly take control of the country as soon as they had an opportunity. No matter what side you'd choose to fight against, you would NEED to ally with the other - there was no neutrality, third option. Yes, that wasn't even close to being an easy choice. And that's exactly the atmosphere they try to convey with their music, the kind of mindfuck one would have to go by during those times.

Normally, one could describe this album as being a "black metal offering", but at the same time it's not wrong, it's not completely accurate either. Their music is mostly mid-paced, with the eventual break or blastbeat, which is a wise choice, since keeping a constantly fast rhythm would detract from the whole atmosphere of these songs. Having said that, it's necessary to say that they have a penchant for melodies, mixing them very carefully with some dissonant parts - imagine folk metal meets Darkthrone's F.O.A.D. with the intensity Black Sabbath would have if they played black metal.

As you may have noticed, variety is the name of the game here. Although such an essential aspect of music, many bands seem to forget that variety exists to keep music from being boring and tend to add excessive variety just for the sake of it and end up straying away from their original premise, deliberately putting an end to any catchiness. Sadly (and paradoxically), Loits' music is sporadically affected by both ends of this musical sin at the same time. For the most part, they can keep things very interesting with many riffs and countless tempo shifts, not to mention their generally tasteful use of unconventional melodies and strange-to-metal instruments. So yeah, this is when things become a problem - at times, these unconventional uses of instruments, sections, etc, tend to drag a bit too much and could be much more enjoyable if shorter, sometimes they repeat the same section way too much, sometimes they just keep throwing strange elements...

Individually, each instrument sounds great and collaborates to the sound of the band. Special mention goes to the guitars: they couldn't have chosen a more adequate tone. It's really crunchy and leaves enough room for you to HEAR THE BASS. Yes, it's true. You can hear the bass in a black metal album. How cool is that, huh?

Then we have the general atmosphere... They manage to create a very chaotic sound to simulate the Estonian WWII scenario. Success! If you're an adept of violence and think wars are the solution for everything... I have to say, the oppressive sound and the feelings it evokes will probably make you think twice about the matter.

And to add even more to this atmosphere we have the vocalist. Normally, he employs three kinds of vocals: a mid-pitched shriek that sounds disturbingly similar to Abbath, a low-pitched raspy voice (not a growl) and sometimes clean vocals. And don't think this might get boring or sound pseudo-progressive, because he can actually choose where to use each of those to fit the music. And yes, he is good at it.

A perfect album? Not quite, but most people will be willing to overlook its flaws because this is highly enjoyable, in the sense that it does exactly what it seems to intend. If I could understand their lyrics, I'd probably give it an even higher rating.

The Beatles had the white album and... Metallica had the black album? Forget Metallica, this is the one that deserves to be known as Black Album. And with fucking upper case.

Author: Vintage
Zine: Encyclopaedia Metallum

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