Falkenbach - Tiurida review
|Release date:||January 2011|
02. ...Where His Ravens Fly...
03. Time Between Dog And Wolf
05. Runes Shall You Know
06. In Flames
08. Asaland [bonus]
You must be thinking I'm crazy, don't you? I don't blame you, really. I mean, who else would drive, at 2 am, fifteen miles away from home in the freezing cold, sit under an old oak tree with just a hooded shirt, and listen to Falkenbach while being drenched in rain like a drowning rat?
Would you like to know why I did that? Why I felt the need to do such an outrageous thing? It's simple. I gazed for about 3 minutes at Tiurida's artwork. It's not really a "Picassian" work, not by any stretch, but it's a freaking mind twister. Within a few minutes, I had realized that if I really wanted to do this record justice, if I really wanted to carve out an honest review for Falkenbach's latest release, I had to feel it, not just listen to it. And what better way to feel a folk metal album than to listen to it alone, in the rain, at 2 am somewhere around nothing?
And now, with a smile, a frozen ass, and a leaking nose; I'm going to tell you about my brief journey into the heart of Germania starting off with the artwork.
I saw two crows peeping between the dead sprigs of a darkening oak tree. The latter was sprouting out of an olden orb sealing two howling wolves that looked to be guarding the entrance of the nine worlds. They were calling out two snakes curling up the bulky trunk of Yggdrasil and the two ravens girdling the orb. Their claws were cradling a parchment scroll that said "Tiurida" (Glory in English). It's not the greatest artwork you'll lay eyes on, nor is it the most intricate one, but it's sure as hell gripping in a dark kind of way.
I have to be honest with you, I was expecting something in the vein of the great Heralding - The Fireblade. And by that I mean, aggressive, fast, darkened folk metal with rasps, acoustic interludes and a war-themed atmosphere; but I was wrong. Tiurida is slow-paced, festive, elegant and unpretentious. Gone are the growls of Vakyas you heard in The Fireblade. Now, they're more like storytelling rustles. Gone are the galloping guitars of "...Of Forests Unknown..., or the plodding war drums of "Walkiesjar". Now, the guitars are low-tuned, thicker in sound, and resembling drone doom in structure. The drums are certainly as powerful and lively now as they were before but considerably slower with no double-bass or plowing aggressiveness.
Tiurida isn't aggressive, but it's complete. It has a little bit of everything; even aggressiveness has its moments here. Songs like "In Flames" and "Time Between Dog and Wolf" were put there to remind those who've forgotten that Falkenbach, if they want to, can send you to the ninth layer of hell with crushing riffs.
You shall be greeted by peaceful, earthen tweeting and rain tapping, later to be replaced by faraway honks of war horns in the intro. It brilliantly flows into "...Where His Ravens Fly..." which briefly continues the acoustic rambling before picking up into glorious folk metal backed by forbidden instruments (flute, mandolin,...), clean vocals, and thickly distorted guitars to set up a beautiful festive atmosphere. And this is how most of Tiurida is. The music remains joyous and light with a nature-based feeling stuck to it, which contributes to enhancing the band's folk identity.
But while Falkenbach know well how to make beautiful, acoustic, folk music, their heavier, black material is what has drawn attention to them over the years. Songs like "In Flames" and "...Where His Ravens Fly..." are testimony to that, though the latter includes acoustic pieces as well by making beautiful transitions between heartening folk and fierce viking/black. But I have to admit that the greatest track in the whole opus is probably "Asaland", the bonus track. The way it swings back and forth between glorious acoustic passages and fierce black metal is just amazing. And before you know it, you're headbanging to a myriad of sounds - swerving between fierce and calm; acoustic and electric; rasps and clean vocals; war and peace.
Folk metal has two sides. The first is aggressive, ruthless, and dark. The second is peaceful, eerie, and mysterious. Falkenbach created the first with The Fireblade and now the second with Tiurida.
They are not so many of them anymore. Everybody seems to be afraid to pierce new territories. Everybody wants to keep everybody happy. Falkenbach aren't like that. They're in for the music and nothing else. Kudos for that, you German beasts!
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