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Ancient methods still work! - 78%

Lane, September 23rd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Vaarang Records (Limited edition)

Estonian pagan metal horde Tharaphita cram their swords into anuses of Christianity and other principal religions once again. This fifth full-length album is fittingly titled as "uprising". Tharaphita (Taara) was the great god of the Oeselians. And still remains to be so to some people today...

Starting as a harsh-sounding black metal band (well, it was a demo), and soon adopting some joyous, epic, victorious or then more melancholy-infused pagan metal melodies, the band have now released quite a rough-sounding album. Alloying primeval black metal, catchy heavy (and pagan) metal melodiousness and heart of a warrior together, this album actually is a prominent call to arms, made of Saaremaa steel

The album consists some raw Venom and Hellhamer style guitar riffing together with heavy metal stuff (e.g. galloping 'Viimsepëva koidik'). It's about getting into the point, exerting old metal music magic. It's strong, at same time sounding familiar yet so refreshing, and enormously driving and contagious. Tharaphita aren't really creating anything novel, but there is no need to do so. They have managed to slough their skin, at least a bit, and sound characteristic. Yes, it is easy to recommend them to other pagan metal bands from The Baltic area (Obtest, Skyforger, Metsatöll, Loits etc.). Here, the melodiousness reminds me of one of my favourite albums: Rotting Christ's 1996 magnum opus 'Triarchy of the Lost Lovers'! That album is highly magical, and here Tharaphita salute its enchanting atmosphere. This especially happens on 'Viimsepëva koidik', 'Luupainaja' and 'Surma-arbujad'. Surely there's some Norwegian black metal influences too, like on 'Sõnad sõlmedesse. The album flows nicely, as more barbaric songs and more melodic ones alternate, and there is enough of tempo changes to bring in variety. Synthesizer is utilized in a way that it's almost unnoticeable. It's just weaving its melodic layer among the entirety. The vocals are about dry yet powerful throat rattling, a.k.a. black metal voice, with added different voices here and there, e.g. shouts and such. Everything is sung in Estonian language, which sounds interesting to Finnish ears (belonging to same Finnic branch of the Uralic languages as Finnish language).

The drums and bass both do their job; quite a lot of double kick drumming and faster and blast beats, but also some calmer parts, and heavy metal beats to rumble it up. They are rather basic, but provide the beat. There is no drum triggering, which is the only correct way to produce music like this. The guitars are very loud in the mix, together with the vocals. However, the rhythm section is still audible. Generally the sound is clear and dry-ish, as is often with Baltic bands. The booklet includes English translations of the lyrics, which are more or less patriotic. Good artwork adds to the general mood.

With 'Ülestõus', Tharaphita have a good album under their belts. It's not made of classic material, but cosy like coming to warm home from a cold hunt. I love its traditionalism, its powerful songs and energetic performances from the crew. It's entertaining, gratifying and fast growing into a friend. The fans of Baltic metal, go and get it. Others, inspect if any band mentioned on the review belongs to your favourites. Hail and kill!

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)