Sunday, 30 September 2012

METSATÖLL – Äio (CD) Review (2010) for MMM

METSATÖLL – Äio (CD) | Estonia | April 2010 by Eddy_litE
Style: Folk Metal | Running time: 60:26 (Tracks: 14)

This is definitely the surprise of the month for me! Being a long time fan of their neigbors Finntroll, it was a great experience listening to this album the first time. Since the last few albums by the Finnish trolls failed to impress me I could use some fresh folklore metal. I am always interested in new territory, especially if it is music that is much more than just entertainment. Estonian native Metsatöll (which translates as 'wolf') provided me not only with a very impressive album but also with a very satisfying evening of absorbing their culture.

Everything about this release made me wanna get further into the storytelling and wanting to know where it all came from. So I found myself cruising the internet and reading about a country, oddly enough not that far from where I live, with a rich history and a very different culture than mine. And it amazed me that I didn't know that much about this intriguing country and especially this amazing band which exsists since 1999 and released an impressive list of material throughout the years. "Äio" (which symbolizes the essence of sleep) is their fourth full length release, and the first for Spinefarm Records, but the band has released 14 titles in total. A handful of those are singles/videos but they also released some DVDs of which "Kõva Kont" (a double DVD package containing over 5 hours of material) seems to be a must-have for me.

Much of Metsatöll's material used in the painting of the scenery, featuring flutes and various other native traditional instruments, is based on the wars for independence in the 13th and 14th centuries which makes you expect something grim and aggressive. While listening to the music the opposite mood is triggered. The songwriting is often very catchy and quite easy to get into but it also stays very close to the folklore of the region. For starters all lyrics are sung in the Estonian language. But before you start to think that Metsatöll uses metal as a gimmickery and should be classified as folkmetal with the emphasis on folklore I can tell you that is not the case. The balance between the two is spot on and are forged together in a way that makes the album compact and easy to swallow. Having the album mixed and mastered at the famous Finnvox Studios helped in that area too.

Many of the songs have that typical "beerdrinking & hellraising" basis with the massive masculin runo-singing that is typical for the region. And the more traditional parts are never too long, dull or difficult to scare the average metalhead away. In fact, I think this album can reach a very wide range of metalheads. Although translations in English are provided some of the archaic history is difficult to translate. It doesn't really matter, it still speaks to me and I get a great feeling of joy and might out of it all. I guess this album is going to serve as a party starter many a time from now on and I am sure most of my friends want to buy the album after hearing it. If you are already used to the odd-sounding language and like Finntroll or Korpiklaani you're going to like this album I'm sure. If you are not sure, just listen to the songs either on their myspace or in a recordstore and you'll be surprised. Chances are you'll find a new world to discover just as I did.

Listen to previews of the Äio album here
Visit the Metsatöll website:

Rating: 90/100