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Dependability is a sign of quality, and I can usually depend on the alliance of indie labels Bindrune and Eiwhaz to put out excellent and thoughtful black metal. Iceland's Toska is no exception.

The X-axis of the Bindrune/Eiwhaz sound runs from folk influences to atmospherics. Toska exists on that line, but further toward the aggressive side than I normally expect. Atmosphere usually comes at the expense of interesting eprcussion, but Toska don't make that trade. I listen to Toska's self-titled EP and I want to mosh. Sure, there's some Summoning-ish keyboard parts in these songs, but also scorching clean leads and a series of furious drum performances. Who says delicacy and vitriol can't go hand in hand?

Toska's lyrics are inspired by the work of Polish poet Tadeusz Micinski, whose work is not widely available in English. I'm unable to find a copy of his most widely read work "W mroku gwiazd" which can be loosely translated to "In the Twilight of the Stars," although one obscure book dealer listed a copy titled "in the Starless Night," and it doesn't take a huge leap of logic to get you from there to "From the Starless Night," the instrumental interlude that begins the Toska EP.

Sounds heady? Don't worry about it, even without proper context, the full-steam-ahead drums and melodic delicacy that Toska employ transcend language.

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Toska is out 5/15 via Eiwhaz/Bindrune.

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