Falkenbach Tiurida

by Trevor Portz
Staff Writer

It seems that in the nearly 20 years(!) that Viking metal has been a recognized metal subgenre, essentially two Viking “tribes” have emerged. On one side, we have the more extreme-metal influenced groups that like to lace in folk melodies and what not, but are still more traditionally black metal-esque. Good examples would be Ensiferum, older Enslaved, and the [luckily] reformed Einherjer. On the other side are the more epic bands, most of which are focused on slow-paced, drawn-out tunes that oftentimes feel like (and occasionally are) traditional folk songs played electrically. Leaders here would be Moonsorrow, Thyrfing, and the sorely missed Otyg. Falling into the latter category, Germany’s Falkenbach is back with its first album in 5 years, Tiurida. The question is: does it really stand up to its heathen brethren?

As with those of their ilk, Falkenbach’s metal is mid-paced and epic. There is little concern for complex riffing or tempo changes, and most songs repeat their core riffs so often that one wonders how the musicians keep track of where they are in the song. This is not inherently a bad thing—most dance and pop music seems to thrive on repetition. Those songs, though, rarely stretch to the 7- or 8-minute mark, whereas most of the tracks here do. Perhaps not all would agree, but 8 minutes of slow repetition can be rather… well… boring. Compounded with the fact that each song follows the same trend, Tiurida does little to hold the listener’s attention. Sure, the aforementioned Moonsorrow often far surpass the 8-minute mark, with songs breaking even the 20-minute barrier, but they grow and change steadily, feeling more like epic tales than endless repetition.

Now, it’s unfair to deem Tiurida a bad record, especially based solely on its lack of diversity. Many bands have made careers out of musical sameness. When looked at from a more historical sense, these songs are probably much more akin to the folk music from which they are inspired than any blast-beat fueled neoclassical song about a dragonslayer. In fact, if one were to strip away the modern instrumentation and harsh vocals (fairly sparse here anyway), it’s hard to imagine even an actual Viking finding it to be anything but authentic. So from that standpoint, Falkenbach are doing a bang-up job of keeping the history they espouse alive.

So sure, Tiurida is not as full-on exciting as Frost or In the Sign of the Raven, but it’s likely it was never intended to be. As a pure piece of folky Viking metal (assuming there is such a thing), it’s a clear victory. Maybe next time Falkenbach should throw in a blast beat, though, just for kicks.

Genre: Viking Metal

Band:
Vratyas Vakyas (everything)
+various session musicians

Track Listing:
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

Label: Napalm Records

Website: http://falkenbach.de

Hardrock Haven rating: 6/10

1 Comment on Falkenbach Tiurida

  1. Falkenbach is not a blast beat band, you should know it if you make the review of this album.

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