Taatsi – Olden Folk (2015)
Review by Jude Felton
One of the absolute joys of reviewing new music is discovering that gem of an album, the one that on any other day you may have skipped over, but it just so happens that you decided to check it out, and you are so damned glad you did. Such was the case with Amidst the Trees, which was the debut album from Finnish ‘Nature Mystical Black Metal’ band, Taatsi. However, even then I didn’t fully appreciate how good it was, with an 8/10 review. Good marks for sure, however, it ended up on my top 20 albums of 2014, such was the impact it had on me.
Amidst the Trees had followed a demo, Season of Sacrifice, which incidentally is also very good and well worth your time checking out. The raw atmospherics of the band’s music fits into larger umbrella of black metal, yet there is a far more enchanting aspect to it, far removed from the death, disease, hail fucking Satan brand of BM that many will be familiar with. Nowt wrong with that, of course, although it is always a pleasant change to listen to different styles that fall under that aforementioned larger umbrella.
It should go without saying (even though I am saying it) that I was eagerly anticipating the release of Taatsi’s follow-up album. If Olden Folk had just rehashed themes and the music from Amidst the Trees, it would have been just fine with me. Of course, they haven’t taken this route, although on a first listen you can definitely pick up many similarities. Lyrically they focus on nature and Scandinavian folklore, as is their forte, yet it is the music itself which has a deeper, more penetrating feel to it than before.
Olden Folk had been given a couple of play-throughs by the way of both car stereo and the humble speakers on the old PC and much enjoyment was garnered from each. It wasn’t until I decided to don my trusty headphones and blast it directly into my skull that I truly felt the full mystical force of Olden Folk. This is an album of many textures, and each listen will reveal more of the music to the listener. Something you may not at first notice, playing as an undercurrent to the more prominent music will suddenly become as clear as day, and just add so much more to the listening experience.
The twelve songs on Olden Folk definitely have a more ‘folky’ feel to them than Amidst the Trees, and this fits the whole aesthetic of Taatsi’s music perfectly, with members A and M (Bond villains?) conjuring up some truly beautiful music. Yes, black metal that is beautiful; there’s plenty of it out there. A’s rasping vocals perfectly accompanying the ebb and flow of their music.
Overall, Olden Folk is a majestic album, from start to finish, and it’s one that pushes the music of Taatsi forward, whilst still remaining familiar in spirit to that which they have previously released. It lived up to, and surpassed, expectations of what I felt the Finnish duo were capable of, delivering as they have an exceptional album.
On a final note, I should also add, the band are not one to rest on their laurels, as they have already finished the recording of their third album, The Isle, which should see release in the not too distant future.
1. The Advent of the Fall
2. Departure of the Olden Folk
3. Nightfall by the High Hill
4. Midsummer Thunder
5. The Airs Carry Beneath the Waves
6. The Archaic Fiend
7. Chimes from Konevitsa
8. The Beauty that Sighs with the Woods
9. Storms of the Eternal Harvest
10. Visions of the Luminous Night Sky
11. Last of his Kind
12. Forest of Flames
Olden Folk is available now, and can be ordered via the band's Bandcamp page (digital), Aphelion Productions (CD) or by contacting the band at Taatsi.firstname.lastname@example.org.