Well, that’s odd. This is the single most German-sounding album I’ve ever heard not released by Teutonic types.
Maybe I should explain. Estonia’s THARAPHITA released “Primeval Force” in 2005 and it was a good slab of Pagan Metal with palpable Black Metal roots but not bound by Black Metal conventions and unique shouted vocals by a fellow named Ank. Two years later, they returned and showed a loss of a lot of what made them unique. The result, “Iidsetel Sünkjatel Radadel,” now sounds like a lot like MENHIR, ODROERIR, MORRIGAN, maybe a little RIGER—in short, like a German Pagan Metal band. There’s a vague Black Metal/under-stated Heavy-Thrash base with express heroic undertones that make me think more of Hildebrand than Tharapita (the pagan Estonian war god).
I suppose it’s a catchy way to say that this sounds rather more generic than “Primeval Force.” The only thing that maybe separate them from three-quarters of the bands I mentioned above is some nice guitar solos or harmonies (see particularly the title track and “Surmatalv”), but MENHIR really spread their wings in that regard on this year’s “Das Hildebrandslied,” so they’re not that unique. The music here certainly isn’t bad, but it’s also a bit more repetitive than the previous release. Even Ank’s vocals have changed to a more generic growl/rasp.
Though it may sound from this like “Primeval Force” ruined “Iidsetel Sünkjatel Radadel” for me, I don’t think that I would have held it in high regard even without the predecessor. It’s just too generic to really have much of an identity amidst the slew of similar-sounding Deutschlanders. The change in sound not well-received, unfortunately, and honestly leaves me a bit confused; usually a band moves from a generic to a unique sound, not the other way around.
(Online January 18, 2008)