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You could claim easily that Metsatöll is the most successful Metal band from Estonia, who celebrated their 10-year-anniversary with more than 250 shows in Europa and the USA plus self-releasing the double DVD/CD Kõva Kont; now they are finally "adopted" by Finnish label Spinefarm. Their fourth album Äio was conceived in the isolation of a small farmstead in Hargla, South Estonia. This provided the songs with a breath that, according to the guys themselves, cannot be achieved in a big city. Äio was recorded in Finnvox studios in Finland and Sinusoid studios in Estonia. The album was mixed by the legendary producer and sound engineer Mikko Karmila.
The latter succeeded to capture a certain "campfire" feeling, the acoustic instrument parts sounds like the guys are here with you in you living room, playing live (Kuni pole kodus, olen kaugel teel - Until I Arrive At Home, I’m On A Distant Road). The "metallic" parts have something of Metsatöll´s wild, untamed and captivating spirit that they are oozing when playing live. Such a mixture of traditional / medieval tunes and historic instruments with Rock/Speed/Thrash Metal has the potential to simply blow you away, as demonstrated by genre colleagues Ensiferum, Finntroll, Subway To Sally etc. Metsatöll created their own style due to this "raw" sound, a slightly weird instrumentation and this dark male voice - first maybe something to get used to, but still one of the band´s trademarks.
After a dancable Folk-intro (Ema hääl kutsub - Mother’s Voice Is Calling) Thrash-Metal style is taking over: Viking choirs, bagpipes, flutes - it makes you dance and bang your head as well. And it continues like that, focus on midtempo & melodies, with occasional Speed-Thrash attacks, and sometimes pagpipes, violins or flutes stand in for the rhythm part. Sometimes there are some Prog-influences, weird choir- and solo-vocals - typically for the style of this band. Let´s put it like this, it´s simply impossible not to be touched or affected by this CD, it might be the sometimes sinister atmosphere, those catchy acoustic parts or those rocking Headbanger hymns - all that has something hypnotic, and when a flute is doing a solo instead of a guitar, it´s another factor to enjoy (Nüüd tulge, mu kaimud - Come Now My Kindred). Total ear-candy: the title track and Roju (Old Buffoon), those will definitely inspire monster Mosh-pits next time those guys play live. Looking forward to that.
PS: On their homepage, and to date their releases, Metsatöll uses the chronology of the local natural religion. It begins with the Billingen catastrophe of 8213 BC, when the Baltic ice lake broke its way into the ocean and most of the current territory of Estona appeared from under the water.
1. Ema hääl kutsub (Mother’s Voice Is Calling)
2. Kui rebeneb taevas (As The Sky Bursts Asunder)
3. Tuletalgud (Feast Of Fire)
4. Vaid vaprust (Only Bravery)
5. Äio (Äio)
6. Vihatõbine (Rage-tainted)
7. Kuni pole kodus, olen kaugel teel (Until I Arrive At Home, I’m On A Distant Road)
8. Vägi ja võim (Of Power And Might)
9. Minu kodu (My Home)
10. Nüüd tulge, mu kaimud (Come Now My Kindred)
11. Roju (Old Buffoon)
12. Kabelimatsid (Chapel Boors)
13. Verijää (Blood-ice)
14. Jõud (Might)