Metsatöll - Katk kutsariks
Self released
Folk Metal
12 songs (44'42")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Alex

A little over a year ago I attended a concert headlined by Russians Arkona where Estonians Metsatoll were a supporting act. The venue in Detroit, MI was small and intimate. It was the first show on the tour, so the bands were fully engaged. I enjoyed both performances immensely, picked up a cool Arkona shirt and digipak for Katk kutsariks, since I wanted to give Metsatoll more listening time, and possibly cover the band on our pages. Little did I know that it would take me a year to do it …

Next morning I woke up with a splitting headache and my head spinning and my whole body being off balance. Things improved slightly over the next few days, but that day very much changed how I went about my life. Several MRIs and multiple doctors visits later, and the whole year behind my belt, including COVID pandemic and stresses that came with it, I am better, but still not 100%. At some point throughout this struggle I promised myself that on the exact year anniversary of that fated show I am wearing that Arkona shirt to work, listening to Katk kutsariks all day long and providing a review for it. Because the album is worth it.

Metsatoll play a brand of folk metal, so rustic and so authentic, you just know the dudes represent their homeland well, and are genuinely into what they are doing. After an intro Toona which may hint about the crew getting a few too many drinks, Metsatoll unleashes into an eclectic mix of thrash riffs, shouting vocals and narrative folk middle sections in both title track and Ebavere. It doesn’t take too much to get into Katk kutsariks right off the bat with a start like that. Unpretentious, yet quality, production, a storytelling nature to the delivery, very much suitable to the live performance I had a chance to experience, Metsatoll remind me a little bit of Tyr, if the Faroese abandoned power metal tendencies and did only folk songs, or In Extremo, if German minstrels never got into industrial or gothic stuff and split up after the first pair of albums. Katk kutsariks keeps it on that genuine, honest-to-goodness level, songs breathing combination of bearish gait and dreamy gruffness with brooding bass lines (Talvehambad). Folk instruments are front and center delivering captivating melodies and feeling of hardship (Kange kui raud), or chug along when a cleaner male bass voice combines with a supporting female character (Ballad punastest paeltest). Singing in Estonian, a very strange unique tongue with few similarities out there, certainly adds another layer of mystique.

Some Metsatoll riffs definitely remind me of Tyr (Tõiv has a reference to Land), but, overall, the band sticks to its own recipes. They can offer quieter creaking sounds and shamanistic incantations (Metsaviha 4), or shift to almost blackened extreme format with slight blasting (Metsaviha 5). Almost Therion epic with a cleaner male operatic voice (Koduhiite kaitsel) is definitely unexpected and what starts as a softer ballad (Lemmingu unelaul) certainly turns out to be not so soft and maintains a gruff exterior Metsatoll mastered so well.

Completely comfortable in their own skin and style, aided by numerous folk instruments and originality of their language, Metsatoll are doing what they want without regrets or second thoughts.

Killing Songs :
Kange kui raud, Ballad punastest paeltest, Koduhiite kaitsel
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Metsatöll that we have reviewed:
Metsatöll - Karjajuht reviewed by Jared and quoted 80 / 100
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