Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Falkenbach: Tiurida (2011)

Folk Metal Week: Part 2


Germany's Falkenbach is one of the oldest folk metal bands out there, having formed in 1989. They are also cited as an early viking metal band. Tiurida is the band's first album in six years, the longest they've gone between releases since their first album in 1996. I had heard the band before, but I couldn't remember anything about them. So, I decided to try it out.

TiuridaThe album starts with a minimalist intro before moving seamlessly into "...Where His Ravens Fly..." You know those aerial shots they use in movies where the camera moves quickly but steadily over the landscape? Imagine one of those going for 7:25, showing a fjord-dotted coastline with waves crashing, before finally panning the camera upward to watch the sunset and fading to black. But instead of a camera and an actual coastline, this is constructed with slow-paced guitars, folksy flute, massive drums, and epic clean singing. It's an astonishing feat to create this vision, especially when the lyrics are in some language incomprehensible to me.

But then imagine they repeat this shot, over and over again with slightly different landscapes, for the course of the whole movie. Sure, sometimes it moves mid-paced instead of slow, the vocals occasionally go into an At the Gates style growl, and the folksy parts might be provided by guitar or some other instrument instead of just the flute. It's one establishing shot after another, but there's only setting and no plot, no conflict, no action to be found. To be fair, Falkenbach is incredible at what they do. But they only really do one thing.

The Verdict: I see the appeal of this kind of music, but I can't figure out why anyone would want to hear a whole album of it. It's frankly quite dull after a while. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. I guess now I know why they didn't leave much of an impression the first time.


  1. I've always felt that Falkenbach was the metal equivalent of watching LotR. I haven't heard the new album, but it sounds like they've pretty much stuck with that. I can understand where people would get bored with the material, but when I'm in the right mood I absolutely love Falkenbach.

  2. I get that comparison, to an extent. But LotR has a lot more to it than this.