Released: 2014, Forever Plagued
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Not so long after Finland’s TAATSI unleashed their demo Season’s Of Sacrifice on Forever Plagued Records, Amidst The Trees heralds TAATSI’S debut album, on the same label as their more primitive earlier recording. A duo, consisting of members simply known as A. and M. both of who have both been involved in respected black metal scenes since around 1995. Presenting a mystical, natural and perfectly epic sound, TAATSI represents a lot of what black metal should be today, with a fresh and modern approach to conjuring ancient atmospheres and noises.
Dense with dank atmosphere and darkness, Amidst The Trees begins of with its first track of seven, “Malign Ghost of the Woods” which is a possible references to the pale ghostly figure that appears on the cover artwork. With excellent production and unnoticeably programmed drums, this track floats through an aural forest, touching and grounds of traditional black metal, with also influences from Leviathan, symphonic masters Emperor, and Austrian troupe Abigor too. “A Moonlight Journey Through the Midwinter Forest” conveys the relationship between man and the woods, with a dreamy exploration of soundscapes crafted by melodic guitar playing and perfect keyboard work.
Sinister keyboards and double-time drumming give track four, “Beneath The Hills They Sing” a more modern feel during the first minute, but as the track calms down Summoning-esque slow keyboard chords offer beauty in a form much appreciated. Vocals feel slightly suffocated and whisper, with noticeable FX to remove the more “human” element. Lyrically, Scandinavian folklore and fairy tales are prominent themes, with a deeper psychological twist which so suitably matches the claustrophobic atmosphere this album presents at times.
Intense and entrancing, this album is one of the best you will hear all year, and the hard work and undeniable talent of TAATSI is not be missed! This majestic band certainly earns their worthy place in this genre with standout tracks including “Circle of the Firmament” and the eerie “Hunts in the Night’s Mind.” For fans of Strid, Summoning and Old Corpse Road will be very pleased with what this hugely underrated gem of a band can offer.
Review by Jarod Lawley