Metsatöll – Tuska
text: Basak Gunel
Metsatöll is a folk metal band from Estonia. Their name Metsatöll is an ancient Estonian euphemism for wolf and it is reflected in the harshness of the band’s lyrics, writen in their own language which fits their style.
Metsatöll was formed in February 1999 and started out as a band playing heavy metal with influences from ancient Estonian folklore. They also released their first debut album ‘Terast Mis Hangund Me Hinge’ (Steel frozen in our souls) around that time.
In 2004 their second album is released ‘Hiiekoda’. A few years later in 2006 a special event with the Estonian National Male Choir. Composed an arrangement of Veljo Tormis’s magnum opus, Raua needmine; a DVD was released in Estonia and Germany of the show that took place in the ruins of the Pirita cloister.
Recently a new live DVD/CD is released called ‘Tuska‘ mentioned after the Finish metal festival that took place last summer. The album was produced in cooperation with Spinefarm Records Finland. In addition to the festival gig, the DVD contains videos to the tracks “Vaid Vaprust” and “Kuu.”
The live album starts with ‘Sojasuda‘. The listener might get the vibe of a Christmas song while listening to the beginning. In addition, the first minutes of the song does not give the impression that this is a live album. However, this vibe changes after the second minute and the ‘live’ song starts. It is a great intro song; it’s really fast, it warms up the listener to the other songs and it has this ambient ethnic side, which I really like and shows that Metsatöll is a bit different from the other folk metal bands out there. Any album collector/listener wants to feel that he/she is there when they are hearing a live album and this song makes the listener feel that as well, which is great!
The rhythm of the live album continues with the second song ‘Kuu‘. Lovely folk instruments in the beginning, as well as the flute. This song is also less heavy and more folk-ish than the first song, which shows the listener another side of Metsatöll. The same can be said about the third song ‘Tuletalgud‘ when the folk vibe is more in the foreground.
A unique song from this album is definitely ‘Kivine Maa‘. I think this song defines who Metsatöll is and their difference from other bands. This song might sound similar to other songs, but I really liked how the vocalist Markus Teeäär sings. You can really feel the energy and the power in his voice. Another element is the sound of the instrument heard in the beginning of the song as well as the torupill, which are the traditional Estonian bagpipes. To be honest, this was my first time listening to Metsatöll and out of all the songs and ‘Kivine Maa’ is the song which made me really appreciate this band.
The rhythm of the album slows down with ‘Rabakannel‘. A darker side of the band is presented. Although this song is also good, somehow it didn’t affect me as much as the other fast Metsatöll songs. The rhythm gets faster again with ‘Kahjakaldad‘ and has an amazing beginning; it’s almost like a ritual from the old times. The album reaches its ‘heaviest’ peak with the ‘Aio‘ and ends with ‘Minu Kodu‘ which is quite long compared to other songs but it’s a good choice for an ending song.
Generally, this live album is really successful, because it gives the listener the feeling that he/she is there throughout the songs. Also the album has a cheerful and fast mood, except from ‘Rabakannel‘ which is the only ‘slow’ and ‘dark’ song from the album. After listening to this album I appreciated Metsatöll even more. Not only they created another dimension to the songs, by releasing a live album, but they also gave another essence to the folk metal with their traditional sound. Another thing I like about this album is the album being live ; Metsatöll could have released a ‘best of’ album or an album of similar kind, but they made the right choice to release a CD/DVD of their performance from the Tuska festival, one of the best metal festivals in Europe.
Furthermore, this album has a lot to offer to the fans who love the heavy metal side of the folk metal. Songs like ‘Aio‘, ‘Rabakannel‘ or ‘Minu Kodu‘ are more for heavy metal fans (although they still have the ethnic vibe in them) whereas songs like ‘Kivine Maa’, ‘Vaid Vaprust’ and ‘Muhu Oud‘ are definitely songs for the people who love the ethnic and folk melody in metal. It is a diverse album all together.
My favorites from this album are definitely ‘Kivine Maa‘ and ‘Vaid Vaprust’. It’s also great to see a folk metal band from Estonia, normally most folk metal bands come from Finland. Although I am not sure if an average metal fan would like this album, I would definitely recommend this live album because it adds some diversity to your collection.
4. Kivine maa
7. Muhu õud
9. Vaid vaprust
10. Minu kodu
Vaid vaprust (2010)
Markus Teeäär — vocals, guitar
Lauri Ounapuu— vocals, Estonian bagpipes, flutes, various kannels, the
angstrument, mouth harp
Kuriraivo Piirsalu— bass guitar, vocals
Marko Atso — percussions, vocals