Review Summary: Second album from Estonia's premier black metal band. Not as impressive as their latest album, but a solid piece of thrashed-out blackened goodness.
Estonia’s Tharaphita aren’t your daddy’s black metal band. Whereas the Norwegian bands of the genre’s first and second generations were either comprised of a couple teens who suddenly decided that Kiss makeup was cool again, or one guy who really loved nature, Tharaphita toss out both the incoherent screams and the harsh, “bees in a tin can” production of the early 90’s scene in favor of a more accessible sound.
Indeed, every instrument on Primeval Force can be heard perfectly, from the somewhat overproduced drum sound (clicky bass drums are a personal pet peeve) to the Dimmu Borgir-esque keyboards that add even more melody to the already catchy riffs. And while we’re on the axe work, it is important to note one unique aspect of Tharaphita’s sound: guitar solos. These little gems are strewn lovingly throughout the album, and while not particularly virtuosic, they work in tandem with the constantly marching double bass to add an occasional 80’s thrash vibe to the album. The album’s book ending tracks “Sorceress” and “Manalateekond” demonstrate the power of even a brief guitar run, where the third and longest track, “Throne of Bones,” builds on a simple guitar riff until it finally breaks out into a mid-paced, fist-pumping double bass-a-thon, complete with a few short solos for good measure.
Epic in many sections and outright brutal in others, 2005’s Primeval Force is a preview of a decade old band hopefully getting their due. While their particular subgenre is tough to classify, Tharaphita are one more band that any fan of melodic metal should add to that long list of mandatory listens.