Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Túrin Turambar: Rzeczpospolita Czartowska (2013)

I will slay thee swiftly.

Túrin Turambar is one of my favorite literary characters, and perhaps the most interesting figure in Tolkien’s work. He’s based on Kullervo of the Finnish epic Kalevala, but to anyone who’s not an expert in Finnish folklore he seems like a combination of Siegfried and Job. Túrin is a mighty hero who fights with a black sword forged out of a meteor, but whose life is cursed by the malevolent will of an evil deity. Seriously, you should read The Children of Húrin, at a minimum.

And, pro tip for any metal band looking for a name: Fingolfin might be the coolest J.R.R. character who doesn’t have a band named after him. Yet.

Poland’s Túrin Turambar obviously have good taste in Tolkien characters. Rzeczpospolita Czartowska is the second full-length from this band who are billed as an avant-garde black metal trio.

There is actually very little black metal of any recognizable character in this music. There are only the briefest episodes of tremolo riffing, no blast beats, and nothing that sounds even remotely like any wave or scene of black metal. They sound more doom than anything, with plenty of slow or mid-paced heavy riffs and some tremolo-picking accents or pinch harmonics.

The avant-garde element is also questionable. Not to disparage them too much, but their avant-garde qualities sound like the kinds of things people come up with when they don’t know what they’re doing with their instruments. I would know. I was in a band like that once. They play their instruments far better than we did, but there is still that sense I get from their more unusual riffs. Aside from those random oddities that aren’t terribly interesting, they might also throw in a slightly industrial sounding riff (“Rok olimpiady”) or a riff that sounds almost Middle Eastern, but is clearly played in a Western key (Zima skuje nam mordy”).

Pack all that together with their production, which is lo-fi but loud, and they don’t sound like they’re ready to slay Glaurung. They actually sound like they’re the coolest, best, and most artistic metal band to never play outside a 20-mile radius of their hometown. I’m sure everyone in Tarnów thinks they’re great and that if they would just get their chance then metalheads everywhere would acknowledge their greatness. But they’re just pretty good.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

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