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Pohjast - Thou Strong, Stearn Death

Thou Strong, Stearn Death
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 June 2012, 11:56 AM

Once again boys and girls I tell you that nowadays you mustn’t check only the cover but what lies within. When the label, meaning the sticker or tag, on the release says Black Metal, don’t let it fool you, you should be the judge. This time I decided to approach this rather new project / band under the name of POHJAST, which is a sort of an international mischief made originally in Estonia but with more partners from Germany, Canada and Finland, with a clear mind. Crossing more info, aside from Estonia and Finland, there is a connection between the other countries. The project’s drummer, Marko Atos, is the drummer of METSATOLL while the other players spread between other lesser known acts. Sounds kind of complicated? No it is not, it is all in your mind trust me. “Thou Strong, Stearn Death”, via Spinefram Records, is the project’s debut release. If you want to go back to the tagging, to know what you will be facing, it is not really Black Metal, but rather a Folkish turn of events filled with stories that I have no idea of their origin.

POHJAST’s musical style reminded me of the burning, but intelligent and genius, mind of Quorthon and his BATHORY while crossing the gross features with DEMONAZ and Metal Blades Records’ Celtic output of PRIMORDIAL. Probably what made this release to sound similar to various of Norwegian Black Metal bands as DARKTHRONE or IMMORTAL is the crunchiness and dirtiness of thuds generated by the production. At first, right before Eric Syre began chanting his words of wisdom filled with morals of ancient stories of the north, I expected the first pounding growl to take place, but that thin growly voice never arrived. Syre was the storyteller both with a tad raspy and a clean pattern which was really rousing. Underneath his vocal line laid the music marching between echoes of Black Metal, which I mentioned earlier, along with mid tempo rhythms, which sounded more or less basic and unsophisticated, that were immersed with a tight and simplistic riffing that was quite good. However, what bothered me were the passages within the tracks. I came across several examples of where the main riff almost brutality and harshly shifted from an arousing mid tempo section, like on the superb “A Funeral Procession on the Milky Way”, and into a different riff as if that following riff was cutting through the flesh of the former without too much consideration or thought. Among others, same was with “The Man from the Past”, which was also a neat song. “The Three Brothers” is nearly the picture perfect of a Folk Metal track made with a good savor without too many reprises of the same riffing, a phenomenon that filled most of this release as well.

“Thou Strong, Stearn Death” is a good prospect by this project band. While adding that wonderful old school Black Metal sound to their material, there is a sort of magic that took its hold of the release. However, I think that it has to be somewhat more diverse than what went on over here. Only time will tell. 

3 Star Rating

1. The Soundless Music of the Lake
2. A Funeral Procession on the Milky Way
3. The Man from the Past
4. Moorsong
5. Thoughts Most Nocturnal
6. The Three Brothers 
Eric Syre– Vocals
Gates– Guitars
Kalmos– Bass
Marko Atso- Drums
Record Label: Spinefarm Records


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