Tharaphita - _Iidsetel Sunkjatel Radadel_
(Nailboard Records, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (8.5 out of 10)
_Iidsetel Sunkjatel Radadel_ ("On Dark Ancient Paths") is yet another entrant to Viking / pagan metal, and presumably the Estonian lyrics espouse the usual tales of Heathen might and glory. Tharaphita are not the first Viking orientated project from this tiny Baltic country, as Loits and Metsatoll, amongst others were around long before, but they sure are among the best.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of their ideological brethren, they have discarded any notion of utilising folk instrumentation, and barring a few keys, they rely solely on traditional metal instruments to create their diatribe against Christian domination. Their decision to leave the flute and mouth harp on the shelf to gather dust has proven to be a wise choice, as I doubt furious anthems such as the title track would be enhanced by a tin whistle whining in the background. One could compare this album to Enslaved's _Blodhemn_ by indulging in a similar raging riff-o-rama. But they are also capable of producing more brooding and atmospheric pieces, as demonstrated by "Surmatalv", which is more heavily indebted to Moonsorrow.

However, atmosphere has largely been abrogated -- not completely but compared to their Pagan brothers, it is very much diminished. This does not limit the potency of what is sure to be one of the most under-appreciated Viking metal albums of 2007.

[As an aside, they reportedly have a penchant for wearing silk capes on stage, which does seem rather odd against the background of their straightforward musical approach.]


(article published 21/11/2007)

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