Lithuania never left a huge impression on Metal so far, despite quality bands such as OBTEST, and traditional Heavy Metal is even less of a common commodity, so when I received “Milzinai” by Kaunas-based quintet THUNDERTALE, I was not necessarily jumping up and down all giddy to put it into my CD player, but I was wondering what they would sound like, especially as bands of this style (from this country) are so few and far between.
So the band has been around since 2004 and “Milzinai” is its second album already (with a DVD in-between) and while many bands from the east stick to their native tongue for their lyrics, but THUNDERTALE mix it up, with the exception of the very end alternating Lithuanian and English songs, which spice things up a little. Now with the traditional sound it is more or less hit and miss these days, if a band concentrates too much on re-capturing the spirit of the Eighties or if they rather just let go and play, in the case of these folks here, I would rather tend towards the...
The intro “Is Giriu” has a definitive medieval touch, with acoustic guitars and the hornpipe, while apparently a story is told (in Lithuanian), actually pretty well done, if you don’t count in that I don’t understand a word... But anyways, the following title track shows that they take their influences seriously, but don’t just sound like an antiquated relict from the Eighties, but add some Power Metal spicings here and there, while the hornpipe also finds its place in a few spots, in a rather subdued way, but at least they don’t try to overuse it. What is nice is the voice of Jonas Chockevièius, which is not the usual high pitch, but is more mid-ranged, which works well with the earthiness of the compositions.
“Milzinai” overall is a mix between traditional Metal and ballads, and while I usually enjoy ballads, the ones that THUNDERTALE deliver here partly are on the extremely sappy side, which backfires in the case of “Dance In The Wind”, as there is a fine line between pathos and sap. Whenever they brandish the sword and let loose the Metal, they are thoroughly enjoyable, like the mentioned title track, “Zenklai”, “Is It Worth”, “Vienybes Dvasis” or my personal favourite “Uz Tevyne”, which has some very nice dynamics.
“Milzinai” will not revolutionize the genre or really draw any fans over to this sound, but if you’re a fan of this style, the Lithuanians have some very enjoyable tunes on offer here, which can’t all compete with the best of them, but definitely are better than average, which is furthered by the nicely strong production, which gives the necessary punch (and I had already mentioned the excellent vocals, which are a definitive asset to this band), so check them out when you get a chance!
(Online December 8, 2008)