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My knowledge of Estonian black metal is pretty much limited to merely knowing that there’s a band named Loits, so when Sõjaruun came to my attention, I was happy to get to discover what this country really has to offer, and Talv - the young band’s fourth release already - surprised me only positively. I find it somewhat misleading to label this as pagan black metal, because from the core we’re dealing with well-done black metal that shifts from emotional tremolo picking to simple but strong power chord riffage. If only a few sections from the opening track ”Kui kõlab sõjasarve hüüd!” were removed - that incorporate some unusual folk instruments to the metal - a more fitting term would be just atmospheric black metal or something along those lines.

The production here is golden to my ears: it’s tight and warm and allows every instrument to be heard well enough. The drum performance of Thon is top-notch and there’s nothing to complain about the other instruments either - only as an off-topic matter I could mention the Estonian language that sounds a little funny to a Finn, as the languages are close to each other but still different, making Estonian always sound a little amusing, no matter how well even Oliver delivers his mid-range screams on this record. Despite the short running time of 24 minutes, the music stays innovative and introduces new ideas throughout: ”Jäine haud” has a long clean guitar intro to it, ”Surmkülmast mullast” focuses mostly on the aggressive side of the band and the instrumental title track ends the album in rather epic landscapes.

I wouldn’t say that Talv is the most perfect EP out there, but I do find it successful: it’s an enjoyable record without any major flaws that would distract me from it. From here onwards I would hope for a little more grabbing compositions on the future records because right now Talv doesn’t rise above the line of being ’pretty good’ - which, however, isn’t a bad score when it comes to nowadays’ black metal.

Author: Vehemency
Zine: Metal Music Archives

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