Metsatoll – Karjajuht (Spinefarm)Wednesday, 21st May 2014
Ever feel like all of those folk bands are just too folky? When you see folk metal bands live, do you ever feel like you’d rather to bang your head a wee bit more and have less of a drunken renaissance fair dance-off? Estonia’s long-standing Metsatoll has your back. Continuing to forge their own dark and twisted version of folk metal, you’ll find plenty of riff-heavy, energetic songs that are sure to incite more mosh pits and less inebriated karaoke.
Just listening to vicious opener “Kulmking” sets the tone for Karjajuht. Plenty of traditional Estonian instruments fill the air, but what really drives the music are the punishing riffs and the charismatic vocals of Jonne Jarvela. His gruff delivery is remarkably clear and demands your attention throughout the song. Not even a flute solo can slow down the aggression and surprising level of brutality for the genre. Other tracks like “Oo,” “Mullast” and “Terasest Taotud Tee” continue the same approach of channeling some ferocious riffs with plenty of folk instruments.
While most of the songs are upbeat in their tempo, Metsatoll does an admirable job of balancing melody and brutality. “Must Hunt” eases the band into more of a mid-tempo groove with a shout-along chorus. “Talisman” is the epic closer that you would come to expect from any folk album. “See On See Maa” features some slower melodic moments, and “Loome Mesti” sees the band at their most “folk-happy.” The Estonian instrumentation gets to shine a bit more on these tracks and not only keeps Metsatoll sounding unique, but really gives a boost to the songs.
Karjajuht is sure to please longtime Metsatoll fans and expand the troops to a few more. It’s hard to come up with something original in the folk spectrum, but Metsatoll has managed for years to blaze their own trail and it seems the timing couldn’t be better for them to reap some greater rewards from it. In the mood for some authentically folk metal that retains its crushing metallic heart? Karjajuht is your answer.