Tharaphita hail from Estonia, and I don’t get many bands from that particular country so thought I’d give them a BotD feature. Also, they’ve just released a rather epic new blackened pagan metal album that really caught my ear.
While the pigeonholing of styles may put some people off, I’d heartily recommend a listen to Ülestõus (“Uprising”) if you’re a fan of classic metal and don’t mind your lyrics a little on the harsh side. The band themselves have had plenty of time to hone their style, forming back in the mid-90s, and Ülestõus is their fifth full length release.
The faster, heavier material is offset well with the occasional solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a Judas Priest album. The more frenetic material still manages to be tuneful – a characteristic of the “blackened” styles that I seem to be noticing. The band are named after the Estonian god of thunder, and it’s a pretty fitting moniker as they really get the earth shaking. Indeed, by the time I’d reached track two (“Viimsepäeva koidik (The Dawn of Armageddon)”), I’d already decided I liked the album.
Lyrically, the band prefer their mother tongue and thematically they focus on tales from the country’s past, often of fighting off outsiders and invaders to maintain the nation’s freedom. In terms of attitude and national pride, I’d guess this puts them up there with the likes of Skálmöld and Týr.
Catchy riffs are surrounded by slower, simpler segments and the overall feel of the album is one of melody wrapped in darkness. On the strength of this latest release I’m definitely going to dig out some of their older material. It’s a shame that a band producing material as good as this hasn’t appeared on my radar before.
Ülestõus was released back in the summer of 2014 and is available through Vaarang Records