Written by: EW on 07/02/2011 22:11:44

The last half-decade since Falkenbach exhibited any sign of life has seen the musical world surrounding this reclusive entity change significantly, a fact not entirely irrelevant given the prominent position in which this bands name is held in Viking/folk metal circles. Enigmatic, individualistic, perhaps even stubborn is composer and he who is Falkenbach, Vratyas Vakyas (though for some years now most instruments have been handled other 'members') whose no live performance policy and apparent disinterest in listening to metal music (if interviews I read with him are anything to go by) instantly set Falkenbach on a different footing to the Viking/folk scene that has grown around them since formation in 1989.

Falkenbach's sound has always lain considerably more towards the epic, mid-paced Bathory "Hammerheart"/"Twilight of the Gods" feel than what is commonly known as folk metal these days (a strong reason why an Alestorm fanbase will bear little crossover to those following these guys), which in their current twee guise positions them low down on any scale of musical 'heaviness'. As such "Tiurida" trots along in the inimitably recognisable and enjoyable style that could not possibly be another artist, yet trotting along a little too serenely is my overall consensus, especially when put aside 2005's quite startlingly good "Heralding - The Fireblade". The likes of "Tanfana" and "Runes Shall You Know" are laden with the kind of catchy hooks and rhythms that have allowed Týr to rise so far in the time it has taken Falkenbach to release this album no. 5, Vakyas and co knowing full well if a formula ain't broke don't bloody well fix it and sticking to this principle like your fair-weather folk metal fan does to his plastic sword.

Thus it is not that Falkenbach haven't progressed musically which causes me to mark "Tiurida" down, but that we here don't have that pulsating energy and fiery burst more commonly found on the band's earlier works. Vakyas' protestations of listening solely to the likes of Wagner is most apparent indirectly through his Bathory-isms rather than any form of symphonic, bombastic Teutonic greatness; a feeling of residing too greatly in the comfort zone which permeates throughout. Having said all of this, yours truly already possesses the golden gatefold vinyl version of "Tiurida", proudly purchased despite being given a free legal mp3 copy to review. Some bands are just worth that extra effort…


Download: Tanfana, Runes Shall You Know
For The Fans Of: Bathory, Týr, Moonsorrow
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 28.01.2011
Napalm Records

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