Metsatoll
IIvakivi


3.5
great

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
May 5th, 2009 | 29 replies | 4,664 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


Over the centuries people have tried to domesticate many wild animals. In some cases (for example horses or dogs) it has been successful, but in some the humans have failed. But even the so called domesticated animals are unpredictable and somewhat wild since they have a mind of their own and they are still in control of their lives. So while you may have a cute little doggy next to you on one second, make a wrong move, and at the next it shall bite your legs off. This album is overly similar to that description. While it is not as raw as Metsatoll's previous efforts and is somewhat mollified, it is still full of that natural, powerful energy that Metsatoll has, and behind a crafted sound there is a raging beast.

Metsatoll's previous work, titled Lahinguväljal näeme, raisk!, was a collection of their past works and was notable for its very raw guitar sound, very unmelodic vocals and a huge lack of bass. The guitar sound was even a bit monotone and while Markus' voice is very strong it seriously lacked melody. Lahinguväljal näeme, raisk! was released in 2006 and after that Metsatoll took a break from recording, started touring and just kicked back for a while. In 2008 they returned with their last-and-best-to-date record called Iivakivi. Iivakivi only has 10 songs on it, but at least most of them are well executed and have nice diversity, a trait what Metsatoll's previous albums lacked. From the opening track "Iivakivi" to the closing track "Äikesepoeg" this is an album that is constantly hanging in between "raw" and "domesticated" and since we are dealing with Metsatoll, a band composed of 4 native, fierce Estonian men it should not come as a surprise that at the end of the album it is clear that you can't domesticate this band, regardless how hard you try.

The opening track "Iivakivi" is a nice track but provides kind of a slow start for the album. With the slow guitar riffs, nice bass picking and sinister vocals it is a good track, but the bridge of this track is incredibly boring and the tempo of the song could be a lot faster or just better composed. Even the fierce drumming that is otherwise a treat on this album is overly protruding on "Iivakivi" and ruins the content of the song a bit too much. But a slow start doesn't right away mean that this album is going to be a disappointment. Already the second track titled "Merehunt" brings the essence of Metsatoll right to the table. The drumming on that track is a treat and features some great tom and cymbal work. The vocals of Markus are strong as always but his vocal capabilities have increased a lot since the last record. Now his singing is actually very enjoyable to listen to. Another thing that greatly adds to this track is the usage of bagpipes. They give the song a really nice atmosphere and are a vital part in the song's melody section. One thing that is seen right away on this track and is a vast improvement from all the other works of Metsatoll is the bass usage. Now it is much more audible and the great downtuned picking is a lot of fun to listen to. Being a vital part in the rhythm section, the improved bass greatly adds to the tracks found on Iivakivi and makes for a much better listen then Metsatoll's previous efforts.

This album also has two definite standout tracks that are very professional and have perfect musicianship. The first one is called "Hetk Enne Lahingut" that in translation means "A Moment Before Battle". It is a very patriotic song talking about Estonians fighting for their freedom while being severely outnumbered as it always was for them. Estonians always had to fight for their freedom and existence, but it was hard due to the fact that about 50% of them were no warriors, just usual farmers, peasants and workmen. It once again features great drumming which always has a nice tempo, good basslines, and as special instruments, folk-kannel and bagpipes are used. The lyrics are pretty deep and meaningful and the powerful, sad vocals provided by Markus are so high-powered that while listening to the song, you can find yourself in the epic battle at one moment.

The other standout song is titled "Va Lendva" ( in translation it is called "Witching Arrow") and it strucks the listener with fast paced ferocious folk metal. Angry voice of Markus, the fast, double bass driven drumming, groovy basslines and nice guitar plucking/riffing which are all done in very high speeds are a pleasure to listen to. Lyrics filled with anger and rage only add to this song ( if you can understand them of course) and make it even better. The bridge featuring nice bass plucking and whistles, slows the tempo down for a moment and then leads to the final part of the song which features some nice heavy riffing and ends the song with great energy and power.

So it all seems to be good right? About 7-8 of the songs are all worth a listen. So what are the minuses of this album? For first there is the fact that while the bass playing has gone way uphill, the guitars in general could throw a bit more punch into the songs. Some part's in songs found in here just cry out for some nice heavy riffage. While the drumming and bass playing are very nice and always present, the guitars could be turned up a bit. The second flaw is that while the lyrics are nice and deep and sometimes even poetic, most of the listeners will have no idea of what Markus is singing about since all the lyrics are in Metsatoll's native language, Estonian. And that's a shame since the lyrics really are good in this one. Thirdly, some of the songs are a bit overdone. Songs like "Veelind" and "Isa Süda" could have been cut shorter since now they seem too overdone. The final flaw is that sometimes the guitar lines and heavy riffage parts should be a bit more complex. The basslines start to get a bit tedious at the end of the album and this album could have a bit more variation in riff structures. While, like said above, the song structures are pretty variable, the riffing is still a bit cyclic.

All in all though, this is a fine folk metal album. Covering the roots of Estonians and talking about fertility stones, epic battles for freedom, Estonian forebears and meanings of life. Mix all these topics with the rawish sound of Metsatoll and the result is Iivakivi, which should make every single metalhead, who likes folk metal, bang their head and sing along with Metsatoll.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

it came out longer than I intended but there was really a lot to say about this.

Big thanks to Balls, he pushed me to finish this stuff. Oh and Rasputin, you sure you don't mix this album with Hiiekoda? This really is pretty good while Hiiekoda was nothing all that special.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the review and feel free to point out my mistakes if you find some.

Zippermouth
May 5th 2009



1305 Comments


So this is like your band?

DoctorNurse
May 5th 2009



475 Comments


Not to be an anal douche, but...

since they have a mind of its own

Should be mind of their own

and at the next it shall bite you're legs off

Your, not you're.

Ok, /grammatical tirade

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thaks for the feedback Dr. Nurse

no zipper this is not MY band but I know them damn well

jingledeath
May 5th 2009



7104 Comments


you're friends with the band? that's cool

xequalscore
May 5th 2009



437 Comments


Not my type of thing. Cool to hear some Estonian stuff though.

BallsToTheWall
May 5th 2009



44164 Comments


On the topic of domestication, i'm quite tired of the American hammer domesticating it's inhabitants. It's worse because most people don't know it. Ahh.... what are we going to do? Awesome review, this has peaked my already high interest in history to read up on the country. Question though, are Estonians white?

kintups
May 5th 2009



491 Comments


Great review.

Zippermouth
May 5th 2009



1305 Comments


ESTONIA!
FUCK YEAH!

Zippermouth
May 5th 2009



1305 Comments


COMING AGAIN TO MAKE MOTEHRFUCKING FOLK METAL YEAH!

Chewie
May 5th 2009



4531 Comments


sweet album art

easylee
May 5th 2009



80 Comments


ed. But ev

Hollow
May 6th 2009



263 Comments


Metsatöll really is "straight outta forest".Another good review and oh yeah, Estonians are white hehe.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@ Ballls
Well there serously isn't much to do is there about that domestication thing, sad but true. Yeah go ahead and read the history of Estonia, it is quite sad but we are a strong nation. Thanks btw I would rec you to check this out. And yes like Hollow said, estonians are white haha.

@Jingle
No I am friends with another estonian band called Memory Of Our Blood (I am not the biggest fan of their music since it is dethcore, but the guys playing in there are cool), but not exactly friends with metsatoll, i just know who these guys are very well.

@pigletopeth and derekchewie11
Yeah I know i love the art too and I don't know why the tracklist is in capitals, going to change it now!

@ Zipper
haha glad to see your love for estonia mate. I think you can also give this a go since the instrumental part is ok and our language is pretty beautiful to listen to so even when you don't understand shiz about what the vocalist sings about, you may still enjoy the music.

@ Hollow
thanks man, appreciated!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2009



20856 Comments


Yeah, I did have a read of this, but I must have been at work at the time & not had the time to comment. I was going to say I love the cover & can't pronounce the song titles!

I can't really talk about the music because I doubt it's my thing, but I like the structure of the review & it's very detailed. Maybe you can try to keep your paragraphs down a little (I bet you saw that comment coming).

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yes I definitely did see that comment coming hahaha. And yeah it probably isn't your thing either. And yeah the song titles that have dots on the letters are unpronouncable to you I guess lol.

Thanks for the kind words though. And btw my biggest concern when writing reviews is the fact that I really get my writing groove on and then I go overly detailish and I don't know if I make review's too detailed or not.

What do you think is it too detailed or is the amount of detail sufficient?

Zippermouth
May 7th 2009



1305 Comments


@ Zipper
haha glad to see your love for estonia mate. I think you can also give this a go since the instrumental part is ok and our language is pretty beautiful to listen to so even when you don't understand shiz about what the vocalist sings about, you may still enjoy the music.

I downloaded software that can decompress rar files, send!


Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Quote:
I downloaded software that can decompress rar files, send!

haha well done, your life shall be so much easier now. Ill send a link to your e-mail since Willie gave me a heads up that if I post illegal download links I may get banned. I Don't want that.

Zippermouth
May 7th 2009



1305 Comments


Have you ever been banned before?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2009



8327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

actually no tbh but I don't want to either haha



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