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Ronkade parved

I have come to realise that Estonian Black Metal comes in a number of forms. One thing which also struck me when listening to “Ronkade Parved” (Raven Flocks) is that the Estonian language lends itself to this genre in the same way as Norwegian. Rasping vocals stand in the middle of a mixture of fiery and atmospheric sections. An interesting feature of this album is the use of the saxophone on the tracks “Ronkade Parved” and “Mälestus Kustutab Leegi” (Remembrance Extinguishes the Flame). The last artist I can recall using the saxophone in this way was Nattefrost on his solo albums and with Carpathian Forest on “Defending the Throne of Evil”. The effect is creepy. The similarity with Nattefrost doesn’t end there because on this album there’s the folksy, occasionally fairground type sound which sounds as if it ought to be jolly but instead is the stuff of nightmares.

The album starts intensely with the old style “Ronkade Parved” and so it goes on. In tone it’s dull and deadpan, but unlike an early Darkthrone album sounding like it’s been recorded in a kitchen, it’s clearly produced. The spoken introductions in Estonian add gravity and suggest there are no “rules” here. The fusion of the saxophone, the measured drumming and the harshness create the air of something unpleasant. By contrast, “F.S.” is more upbeat and thrashy, again bringing the Carpathian Forest comparison to mind. “Mälestus Kustutab Leegi” starts imperiously. The saxophone accompanies a wall of blackened sound and funereal drumming. It all descends into screams of chaos and evil. After this, the album consists of a series of two minute blasts, all on a bed of evil and intense Black Metal, each imprinted with different moods. “Verine Koidik” (Bloody Sunrise) is fast and furious. The drums are in blasting mode. The vocalist makes it as horrible as possible. The last three tracks demonstrate the variation. “Tasumise Päev” (Day of Revenge) starts eerily with the sound of the recorder, to the background wall of sound, before leading into furious intensity. “Õiglaste Tulek” (Coming of the Righteous) by contrast is a creeping track in which the vocalist croaks on and the riff goes round and round. Then “Viimne Lahing” (The Last Battle) calls upon a more traditional, pagan sound.

“Raw Epic Pagan Black Metal with some elements of Folk, Thrash and Death metal” is how “Ronkade Parved” is presented to us. Undoubtedly dark and Nordic in its flavour, the strength of this album is the variations of speed and styles of delivery. Basically, it’s epic, evil, unpleasant and in different ways atmospheric, just as good Black Metal should be.

Author: Andrew Doherty
Zine: Metalteam UK

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