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THOBY LOTH

Prog Folk • Finland


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Thoby Loth biography
THOBY LOTH is an energetic instrumental band hailing from Vaasa, Finland, formed in 2007, They combine grand melodic rock with medieval influences, inspired by the musical and non musical folklore of the Nordic regions and Eastern Europe. They actively tour and have released a live DVD in addition to a couple of studio albums. They are recommended to those who enjoy neo prog or progressive folk with an otherworldly character

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THOBY LOTH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THOBY LOTH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 5 ratings
Lagereldarnas Tid
2009
4.05 | 4 ratings
Cauldron of Life
2012

THOBY LOTH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THOBY LOTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.10 | 2 ratings
Live from the Wooden Realms
2009

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THOBY LOTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cauldron of Life by THOBY LOTH album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 4 ratings

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Cauldron of Life
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars THOBY LOTH from Vaasa (in the West coast of Finland) released their debut album in 2009. This follower made by the same quartet line-up - led by the composer-flautist-keyboardist Tobias Tåg - three years later, is musically pretty similar; the differences are primarily elsewhere. First, the titles are now in English instead of the group's mother tongue Swedish. They play melodic and powerful instrumental [hard] rock with elements from traditional and Medieval music. A lot of flute! Musical references such as JETHRO TULL, BLACKMORE's NIGHT, KEBNEKAISE or PIIRPAUKE may help to form a picture of their sound.

Compared to the debut Lägereldarnas Tid (= The Time of Campfires) that was inspired by Northern mythology and forests, Cauldron of Life seems to be slightly less folky and possibly tighter in the rock power. For example, there were some flute dominated moments on the debut that sounded a lot like PIIRPAUKE drawing from the Finnish folk music. On the other hand, I'm well aware how the imagery created by track titles affects on the way the music is felt. Figuratively speaking, the band came out of the ancient wood inhabited by mythological creatures, perhaps losing some of the folklore romanticism along the way. Track titles such as 'The Black Coast', 'Temple of the Stars' and 'Memories in Stone' sound more like a Tolkienesque fantasy drama with high-tech production.

But whatever images you may get, Thoby Loth clearly haven't lost their own Scandinavian-rooted identity on the altar of commercial aspirations. [Carved] stone has taken the place of the wood in the imagery, but in the end that's very appropriate, as the sound is sharper and rockier (Kenethlevine points out the preference of guitar over organ).

By the way, both albums include nine tracks, all fairly good and excellently produced. I'm ashamed to confess that when I was originally handwriting the very positive review on a piece of paper, I was listening to the debut by mistake, having accidentally placed the discs on the wrong covers. (And it had been several months since the last listening.) I felt like an idiot and was angrily frustrated, because I had to withdraw my comments dealing with individual tracks and the possible differences between the albums. Actually now I can only think that the differences are very minimal in music itself. Kenethlevine clearly prefers this one but for me the debut perhaps has a more sincere folky atmosphere while this is undoubtedly better from the hard rock aspect. The same fours stars again, then. Both albums warmly recommended to all listeners of powerful instrumental Folk Rock.

 Cauldron of Life by THOBY LOTH album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 4 ratings

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Cauldron of Life
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars

Finnish folk/neo outfit THOBY LOTH' second album continues in largely the same vein as their debut, yet somehow the results are far more appealing. The band rocks harder, particularly in the preference for lead and rhythm guitar over organ, the melodies are more haunting, and the arrangements are far more atmospheric, as if a spaceship could descend into the clearing and spoil or boost the party, or perhaps just hover above and act as a spotlight on the rituals.

"Cauldron of Life" is as consistent as its predecessor but at a far higher level, one that insists upon itself and makes the diversion worthwhile. Again, highlights are difficult to pick out, as this runs like a soundtrack. On that subject, I should add that vocals are not missing in this highly evocative music, and, if you know me, you know I like my vocals! On this disk, THOBY LOTH reminds me at times of a high voltage CELTAS CORTOS but this is a supreme example of generating a fresh sound out of recycled parts, all the better for their vintage. I do suggest you stop by the cauldron in the wood, you know, the one you avoided before. You won't be disappointed.

 Lagereldarnas Tid by THOBY LOTH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.56 | 5 ratings

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Lagereldarnas Tid
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars

THOBY LOTH is a Finnish all instrumental group playing earth centered Nordic folk music with middle eastern and neo prog shadings. The flutes and keyboards of Tobias Tag predominate on this inaugural recording, with center stage occasionally belonging to Peter Enroth on lead guitar. While the music certainly recalls ancient shrouded rituals only feasible during fog choked nights with a full moon occasionally battling the obscurity, it also evokes occasionally marked and occasionally fleeting comparisons to the 1970s work of JETHRO TULL, KEBNEKAISE, FOCUS, and ASIA MINOR, as well as heavier acts.

It's all pretty entertaining and enjoyable, if passing by unnoticed a little too often. As consistent as it is, probably the best tracks are the last two, which are more atmospheric and even jazzy at moments. I think they most succinctly convey the band's leanings in a manner that suffuses one's core rather than intellect, that is to say, they are chillers! Supposedly based on ancient fairy tales, this collection is best not played at the bedsides of the young, but preferably at the hearth on the eve of a pagan festival erstwhile or otherwise.

 Live from the Wooden Realms by THOBY LOTH album cover DVD/Video, 2009
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Live from the Wooden Realms
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Finnish instrumental rock band THOBY LOTH released their live DVD the same year with the debut album (reviewed by me yesterday). Understandably then, the track lists are nearly identical. The roughly 50-minute concert shot at the church ruins of old Vaasa begins and ends with a non-album track ('Skymningsdalen' and 'Älvprinsessan'), otherwise it represents the album Lägereldarnas Tid in the same running order. That can be thought of as a theoretical weakness for a DVD because one could expect more from a DVD release, but I must point out that if you were to choose between the CD and the DVD, the latter is the nicer purchase (even if my 3½ stars are this time rounded down). This is very well done, and the music gets extra interest from seeing it performed live. The composer Tobias Tåg is busy playing keyboards, flute, tin whistle and recorder in turns, and all members seem to enjoy the playing.

There are enough cameras to make it lively and nicely balanced between close-ups of the musicians and views of the whole band. The presence of the audience is almost unseen/unheard; this DVD is a total opposite for a seedy bootleg stuff, done so carefully that there's a rick of a little clinical taste to it. There's no fancy visualistic show on stage, but in front of it you occasionally see some fire artists at their work. Between some tracks you get few brief interview cuts of Tobias Tåg, telling about the formation and the goals of the band. And sometimes there's also some outdoor visualization (a forest, a campfire, a stream, etc), briefly at the beginning of a couple of tracks.

What would have increased the interest value is for example some guest performance (vocals or whatever) or otherwise unsimilar versions to the album tracks, or music outside the album, but this is pretty good as it is. For the music itself read my album review.

 Lagereldarnas Tid by THOBY LOTH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.56 | 5 ratings

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Lagereldarnas Tid
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars THOBY LOTH is a Swedish-speaking quartet from Vaasa, Finland, who have released two albums this far, plus one live DVD (also from 2009, consisting almost entirely of the debut's material). All music is composed by flute/keyboard player Tobias Tåg. The title of this debut means The Era of Campfires. That and the titles in general have references to Scandinavian pagan rites and mythology, the nature and especially wild, dark forests being the place where the listener's imagination is directed to. Although the instrumental music doesn't attempt to sound medieval, nor do the band wear such fancy clothes (actually these guys could be mistaken for a metal band for their looks with long hair), the idea is fairly successfully captured in the music, even with a lot of energetic, electrified rock approach in it.

'Faundans' is a perfect opener and gives a good picture of the band's style. The lively, folky melody is mostly led by flute, accompanied by powerful guitar chords, organ and a rhythm section, that quite certainly gives us associations to JETHRO TULL. The flute and its melodies are clearly more Nordic and folky in nature than Ian Anderson's, perhaps influenced by Sakari kukko's flutework in the Finnish ethnic jazz legend PIIRPAUKE. Indeed, decrease the jazziness and world music elements and increase rock, and one could consider PIIRPAUKE as some kind of a forefather to this band too. On the whole it's perhaps easier to find bands with similar approach from continental Europe, Sweden and the U.K. than from Finland. 'Rus' is slightly harder rocking tune. Peter Enroth uses both acoustic and electric guitars and bouzouki very effectively. 'Näcken' (= a mythological creature living in lakes) has slower tempo, and the softly played flute weaves an exciting atmosphere. Maybe the track could have gone deeper into that delicate and gloomy atmosphere, and minimized the rock aspect for change. But not bad at all anyway.

The next three tracks form a 'Trilogi', starting with the title track. By now the band's stylistic repertoire has become quite familiar already, and those expecting more progressivity and variety may feel a bit disappointed. But hopefully the certain degree of narrowness in composing and performance is compensated by the fresh and solid Prog Folk sound. I believe this music will please the ears of those who enjoy the folkiest elements of JETHRO TULL and bands such as KEBNEKAJSE and why not also BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, as they might sound without the sweet vocals of Candice Night and with more flute. So, there may be nothing new under the sun, but THOBY LOTH do what they do with great skill and taste. A very convincing debut worth of 3½ stars.

Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition.

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