|Review: Various Artists - Tarbathian Fortress|
Label: Warhorn Records
Year released: 2020
Review online: March 21, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Rated 4/5 (80%) (3 Votes)
Estonia isn't the first place you think of when talking about Metal, but it's had an active underground scene lately, and Tarbathian Fortress is a compilation of nine bands hailing from the region to show us what the region has to offer.
Sküllfükk Satänic Slüts kicks down the door with "Satänic Sexüal Speed Riders", which introduces us to their brand of dirty Speed Metal that's akin to Venom and Ranger performing blasphemous rituals at a ceremonial altar, and it's an excellent opening number for the compilation. Ulguränd follows it up with a dose of Pagan Metal in the vein of Korpiklaani, albeit more grim and less obsessed with booze. Ziegenhorn come up next as a trio from Tartu that play the kind of progressive-tinged Black/Death that wouldn't sound out of place on the Dark Descent roster.
The next band is the already defunct Koffin, whose brand of heavy old-school Death Metal with US and Finnish touches gives us one of the compilation's killer tracks with "Secrecy of the Night", making their departure all the more tragic. Estonian/Icelandic Goregrind Death Metal freaks Igor Mortis bring us the track "Voices from The Mausoleum (I Want To Rot)", which is plenty of fun but sadly too short. Swarn are one of the oddball bands on here, whose track "Sulphurous Rituals" shows them working in a bizarre melding of Napalm Death and Swedish Death Metal that doesn't sound like many other bands I can name.
Pagan Black Metal act Kaev are next in line, giving us the grim "Mourning of the Sinner" that's perfectly acceptable, if not terribly notable. Unfortunately, the next band Langenu are the problem child hear, playing what they claim is Black Metal but is really just Death Metal with minor Black Metal influences to bring us "Langetõbi", which is, quite frankly, irritating and poorly recorded. Better luck next time, guys.
Finally, the compilation ends with the band Form, who work in an experimental vein of Black Metal that's like Behemoth taking the stranger sounds of Satyricon and Samael. Talk about saving the best for last, because "Antecedent Garden" is the best track on the whole compilation, and makes the whole thing worthwhile by itself.
Bottom line, if you're interested in what the country of Estonia is up to when it comes to Metal, this is a solidly put together compilation that'll do the trick. They may be a small country, but that doesn't mean their underground scene is lacking in the slightest.
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