Saturday, January 29, 2011

FALKENBACH - Tiurida CD review

Napalm Records
Genre: Viking/Folk Metal
Rating: 4/5

After quite a few years of silence FALKENBACH, aka: multi-instrumentalist Markus Tummers better known as Vratyas Vakyas, has returned to form with this newest release Tiurida which means Glory. It's an aptly titled return for the man who helped develop and shape the Viking Folk metal genre over the past twenty years. His last release of new material was 2003's excellent Ok Nefa Tysuar Ty. In 2005 there was Heralding The Fireblade but that was a re-recording of FALKENBACH's unreleased debut. So for fans who heard plenty of other similar styled bands carry the Viking Folk Metal banner honorably, seeing something new by Tummers garners obvious excitement. Now before you get all crazy and run next door to perform a blood eagle on your neighbor for what his Christian ancestors did to your people (as well as fuckin up your chainsaw when you lent it to him) wait a minute. My use of the words "returned to form" should not be mis-characterized. Yes it's still FALKENBACH and this release sounds fantastic but the atmosphere on Tiurida is more laid back, hanging out with a bunch of friends in your backyard type of sound. Sure it's great to drink copious amounts of adult beverages to with friends during a party but not a war party.

The opening intro does have a Viking feel to it with a bass horn blowing as if announcing the coming of a long boat into the harbor. Obviously it's the return of FALKENBACH and from there the first cut kicks into gear. “Where His Ravens Fly" will be familiar to old fans with it's clean vocals and a decent rolling rhythm balanced well between the metal and acoustic instruments which on this one include guitar, flute and mandolin. The song is very welcoming in a Viking folk way. "Time Between Dog and Wolf" goes into a more heavier direction which include Tummers switching over to his black metal vocals. From this point on the release turns to one defining theme which dominates the rest of the release. It's not a complaint but just an understanding that from the instrumental "Tanfana" on, the atmosphere is relaxed. "Tanfana" does give you the feeling of movement whether it's cruising across the waves in a boat or soaring in the sky like an eagle. Where ever your imagination takes you the song is classic FALKENBACH.

"Runes Shall You Know" returns to the clean vocals, melody and mandolin playing while a majestic sound scape rolls on. Anyone who wants to know where the Faroe Island band TYR got a few influences, here ya go. "In Flames" brings back the heaviness and black metal vocals. There's an acoustic guitar break in the middle part of the song with haunting whispered chants which is pretty cool. Sadly the last two songs "Sunnavend" and the bonus cut "Asaland" really don't stand out. I don't look on it as a bad thing especially if you look at this release as a whole piece and not individual songs thrust together. The beauty of FALKENBACH's music is to transcend the listener to another place of consciousness or time. Tiurida does it throughout. For fans this is just another well done addition to the collection. Newcomers might not get into it at first so I'd suggest going back to the beginning and work your way up. All in all I'd still say this is another great FALKENBACH release.



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