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Is it really 6 years since ‘Heralding The Fireblade’ (Falkenbach’s last album) was released? Apparently so. A little space between releases can do wonders for rekindling your love of a band, and having fallen under the spell of Falkenbach’s anthemic aural delights with ‘Heralding…’ I had high expectations for this to say the least. ‘Tiurida’ marks the fifth release by the effectivel,y one-man project of ‘Vratyas Vakyas’, and continues with the Nordic mythological themes of the previous albums. Therefore, technically speaking, it sits in that awfully-named genre of ‘Viking metal’; but having been around well before some pigeon-holing obsessive journo did the disservice of conjuring up that term (to which the likes of Bathory and Enslaved are now also frequently described, unbelievably – seriously, do we really need all these sub-genres of sub-genres?), at least Falkenbach stand as one of the more respected bands from that genre. Anyhow, I digress. The dulcet sounds of birds and nature gradually morphing into rain, thunder and orc-like battle horns set the ambience of the album, before launching into the anthemic ‘Where His Ravens Fly’ with its victorious clean vocals and distinctly folky-metal feel; a theme that continues with ‘Tanfana’, ‘Runes You Shall Know’ and ‘Sunnavend’. However, here lies the small issue with ‘Tiurida’. Sure, it’s very well written and produced, and Vratyas has an amazing voice but, to a certain extent, it doesn’t seem to exude the level of raw passion and energy that previous releases do, aside from ‘Time Between Dog and Wolf’ and especially ‘In Flames’, which ooze that classic Falkenbach ferocious majestic vitality and ambience, and stand out a mile from the other tracks, despite the vocals being growled and not sung, as with the other tracks. But perhaps this is a more mature Falkenbach that we’re seeing and, if it is then fair enough, I look forward to seeing what the next album brings (but sooner than 6 years hopefully). The ‘standard release’ artwork for 'Tiurida' appears to be a pretty standard Falkenbach fare of dusking coastal/mountainous landscapes, which is certainly befitting of the music but, as with the last album, the digipack will probably be the version to opt for, not only for the bonus track but also the intricate pen-sketched artwork (for those who still appreciate good cover art). The album is certainly a grower, which has resulted in its ‘score’ increasing gradually with each listen, and if you’re new to Falkenbach, then be prepared to discover a band who do this kind of style extremely well and be prepared to spend more money delving into their back catalogue.
Napalm Records
Review by Hannah Sylvester
31st January 2011
1) Intro
2) ...Where His Ravens Fly...
3) Time Between Dog and Wolf
4) Tanfana
5) Runes Shall You Know
6) In Flames
7) Sunnavend
"...a more mature Falkenbach..."