Metsatoll
Äio


4.0
excellent

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
March 8th, 2010 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metsatoll's fourth album finally sees the band firing on all five cylinders

A primal rage was growing inside me while I was re-writing this review for the 10th time already. Frustration was rapidly growing, due to me being unable to finish this piece of writing in style. What was even more dissatisfying was the fact that Äio is a very good album, to which I decided to give a review that would match it, but had trouble pulling off. Äio seemed to have taken all words right out of my mouth; it literally made me speechless. Whether it was because of that Estonian rambling and chanting that's prominent during most of Äio, or the fact I was (still am) quite mesmerized by the music itself, Äio had me in a firm grip, and it didn’t seem like it was ready to let go any time soon.

It has been over a week now, and I’m still under the spell of this album. Äio is most probably the best folk metal album to be released in 2010.

Metsatoll has always been one of the very few folk metal bands I can actually relate to. May it be because I share the same native language with the guys, thus knowing the lyrics are very well written, or because Metsatoll pride themselves on creating serious-sounding music as opposed to the jokey and gimmicky style that seems to be "the thing" currently in the folk metal scene, I always get a good vibe when listening to them. Over the years the guys have evolved from an embryonic metal band into Estonia’s biggest metal juggernaut (truth be told, they’re the only metal juggernaut Estonia has). With constant evolution being their moto, Metsatoll have plowed forward for some time now, and so it was not of any surprise that their 2008 effort Iivakivi finally saw the band making their first steps towards musical glory. A lot was still left to improve upon though. Äio does not fill all the holes that were left after Iivakivi, but it does well to show the band’s continuous evolvement, and firmly marks Metsatoll as one of the best bands in the folk metal scene today, along with Tyr and Ensiferum.

Äio, like you may have probably guessed by now, is Metsatoll's finest work in every form. Although not perfect, Äio has the best musical quality, best mixing and best flow out of Metsatoll’s whole discography. While being fourteen tracks long (which might sound much for a folk metal album), Äio has no weak spots, or any boring spots for that matter either. It's like a river that flows effortlessly and lightly, without encountering any steep bends and raging waterfalls.

Musically Äio is very interesting and also Metsatoll's most varied album by far. The album is riddled by badass riffs and superb bass work what, opposed to habitual, sets the path on which the palm muted guitar riffs start to build upon. There’s more to be found then good guitarwork on here though. It's a bold statement, but Metsatoll are, at least to me, one of the top three bands of their genre in mixing folk into metal. The way it doesn't sound cheesy one bit, and how natural and ethereal the flutes, torupill (estonian bagpipes) and kantele sound in the overall composition, is a pleasure to listen to. Strings are also often used in order to help craft the natural and taintless atmosphere.

Äio does have one minor, but nevertheless considerable setback though. Despite how good musically and compositionally the album may be, Metsatoll have one raw spot to them. The problem, namely, lies in the vocals of Markus 'Rabapagan' Teeäär. He only performs in one style - slightly yelled, preachy clean vocals. No growling, screaming, crooning, shrieking, barking etc. In fact, the only alternation comes when in some songs Teeäär favors a whisper-y technique to his casual clean vocals. I myself do not have any beef with the vocal department; I've been listening to Metsatoll for years and am perfectly acclimatized with Teeäär’s vox, but to new listeners they might be a turn-off.

The aforementioned problem is only a bump in the road though. Other than having little variation, Teeäär’s vocals aren’t bad, just need a little time getting used to. And when Metsatoll have got an album such as Äio to boost, everyone who wrote this album off due to the vocals should definitely consider re-aquiring this.

On Äio, Metsatoll have finally realized the potential they frequently showed glimpses of on their previous recordings, especially on their 2008 album Iivaikivi. Quite simply, folk metal doesn’t get much better than this. I have always appreciated how Metsatoll share Estonia’s folklore and history through a spectrum of music, and now that they've got as musically proficient album as Äio to boost as well, what’s not to love about them



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ughh not 100% satisfied with the review but this badly needed a one.

Best of folk metal 2010, fans of the genre get this now.

Also, sorry the vocals bring this down so much for you, zoo

SCREAM!
March 8th 2010


10315 Comments


Nice gayview and all.

Might look into this i guess but i havent been in the mood for folk metal in a long time

jingledeath
March 8th 2010


7104 Comments


Great review Magnusaurus

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys. Yeah Simon, go ahead and look into this.

Jingle will prolly listen to it twice, give it a 3, and never listen again :P

TheSpirit
March 8th 2010


17987 Comments


Sounds really good, great review.

Digging: Volahn - Aq Ab Al

jingledeath
March 8th 2010


7104 Comments


Jingle will prolly listen to it twice, give it a 3, and never listen again :P

or a 2.5 muahahaha

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

or that haha

Thank you TheSpirit

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


16466 Comments


You gave this a 4, Zoo gave it a 2.5..... who to believe, who to believe..... will decide when I listen to this. Good review as usual.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

zoo said the music was cool, but that the vocals really blew haha

Ponton
Emeritus
March 8th 2010


5815 Comments


Been waiting for this one and nicely done (wether in the first paragraph needs to be "whether").

I hope you're feeling better btw.

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah I really took my time with it.

Thanks for pointing that out, will edit it right away. And yea I'm feeling all fine again. Turns out my sickness was all due to an injection I got - I dunno what the eff went wrong with it, but instead of giving me protection (which is its task obv) it gave me a heacdache and a fever instead, and also made me puke my guts out.

LG
March 9th 2010


3049 Comments


What is with all the folk metal...ahhhh review something interesting Styles, I NEED recs damnit!

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2010


8387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is interesting, you fool

LG
March 10th 2010


3049 Comments


folk metal...interesting--you misunderstood me. I want something interesting for straight people ;) Seriously though.

Zip
April 4th 2010


5312 Comments


zoo said the music was cool, but that the vocals really blew
Vocals on the last album really blew. I think there's a trend.

beefshoes
May 30th 2011


4308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is one of the best Folk Metal albums I have heard in a long time.
Estonian sounds like an even more badass version of Finnish.

Digging: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel



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