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Must album

Though this Estonian group have been playing their unique brand of "flak" metal since 1996, it wasn't until 2004's "Vere Kutse Kohustub" that the rest of the world began to take notice. Their interesting blend of stoic black metal, simple punk rock, alternating croaks and anthemic old-world singing, and early 20th century nostalgia definitely has a way of keeping your ear cocked toward the Victrola. Here the cavalcade continues, though at a much slower pace than before. "Must Album" is a weighty, melancholic album that evokes the feeling of cold oppression either by harsh winter or Russification. Or both.

With the tempo slowed, vocalist Lembetu has room to expand on his vocal delivery. He takes the opportunity to add extra drip to his croaks and extra gusto to his chest register, and it works to great effect. In fact, I find myself focusing more on the vocals this time around than the guitar or drum work. Not that the riffs or grooves are poor, they just seem to play more of a supporting role to Lembetu's compelling narrative. Occasionally, the band adds a bit of flair to the music, as in the stripped breakdown in the opening song, the keyboard passage and female backing vocals in "Kiri Kaevikust," or the drum fills in closer, "Oolaul." These special touches give the easy riffs and drumming added depth and should be used more often.

All in all, "Must Album" is a step up from "Vere Kutse Kohustub." However, with the maturation of Lembetu I'd like to see the rest of Loits expand on their own capabilities. The simple formula need not be broken. A bit more clever employment of the element of surprise could go a long way in getting this band up a few more notches in the metal world. Here's to making that a must.

Standout Tracks
Soomusronglase Silmis
Kiri Kaevikust

Author: Keefe

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