Review Summary: Thurisaz played their own style flawlessly here, and in doing so created one of the most under-rated albums this decade. Get it. Now.
There are some albums that just click with you. Some albums that upon hearing, you know straight away that you are going to love them for a long, long time. Love on first hearing, if you will. Now, it's pretty obvious that's the way I feel about this album, so I'm going to cut straight to the point here. This album is bloody amazing.
To describe they sound that Thurisaz
create is ridiculously hard. They incorporate elements of black, death, progressive, pagan and symphonic metal. Add with that some gothic melodies and plenty of atmosphere... and it still doesn't quite describe them. I could try to describe them with words, serene, beautiful, haunting, epic, grand. No, none of them do the album justice. Let's try drawing similarities with other bands, let's see... Imagine the symphonic elements of Sigh
, mixed with the progressive tendencies of Opeth
, and the atmosphere and beauty of Amorphis
?. No. Yet again, that still doesn't give enough of a description for these guys, so I'll have to try to explain it without summing them up, for that would be impossible. This album will leave you speechless at points, unable to talk after being subject to such a melodic assault on your ears; in the end of it all, there is no way to describe this album in mere words alone. The maturity, and the skill of this band's songwriting is in rare supply these days. Each song is memorable, each one is perfectly paced, and probably best of all, none of them are repetitive in the slightest. Which, looking at the track listing, is a pretty good feat.
Technically, the band is flawless, each riff is melodic and splendid to listen to. The drumming is creative, and free to work it's magic in the background. Even the bass, while being quiet, has it's moments where it shines through to create some beautiful rhythms, especially on the two softer songs. Then, on top of all this add on the symphonic element Thurisaz have in their music, and you realise they have nearly reached perfection on this album. Throughout the album, the guitarists play a lot of varied and interesting riffs. They shred, they play melodic leads, they slow it down at parts, basically, they put on one hell of a performance, giving the music a constant quality, which allows the vocalists and the drumming to shine. The drumming is of a very good quality in this album, constantly varying the speed might make the album sound messy, but he manages to get it to sound constant, and if you don't listen closely, you might miss the subtle changes in tempo he makes. Despite that though, he can also blast you away with his foot speed, when his blast-beats make an appearance, you sure know about it.
The vocals on this album deserve a paragraph for themselves, seriously, you get treated to all the different spectrum's of styles here. From black shrieks to death growls, melodic clean vocals to mid-tempo singing. The band's best asset here, is not that they use a lot of different vocals styles, it is that they know when to use them, and for how long. For example, the opener, 'A Timeless Flame' starts off with the typical black metal shriek, mixing in with the symphonic keyboards, before you get treated to a death growl, much akin to Graveworm
, it continues like this for a while, using the same formula, but then when you get the clean vocals kicking in, it is a splendid moment in the album. For they sound great and fit perfectly with the atmosphere this band creates. From then on, the song changes at every twenty seconds or so, and you get the first taste of the band's great ability to keep you captivated while listening to their music. Lyrically, the band sticks to the dark atmosphere they create in their songs, but without venturing into the death and gore lyrics a lot of bands do. Instead, their lyrics can be interperated different ways, good or bad.
The light that I have seen
Forever in my dreams
Something has awoken inside me
Amazing could this be?
It's feeling so unreal
The part that has awoken inside me
While they certainly aren't the best lyrics you will hear, they sure do stick in your head, and show a certain degree of quality. There is not a single track on this album that you might consider skipping, each one has several moments where you just think 'wow', even the simpler ballad songs. "Years of Silence" and "Endless...", the latter showing off some of the gloomiest vocals on the album, and being a solid ending to the album, the solo in particular sounds emotional and brings the song to an impressive climax.
impress me most with, above the technical greatness and the mature and brilliant songwriting. Is the sense of conveying a story in each song. In particular "Anno Viroviacum", the song starts very folky, with some chanting in the background of the slow and powerful guitars, and then it stops, and an acoustic guitar starts playing an ingenious melody. With the vocalist whispering the lyrics, before screaming out the last word and being blasted by a grand black metal riff, which is probably the most memorable on an album full of splendid guitar play throughout. This song keeps a break-neck pace, going from one extreme to the next, and not dying down until the very last second. It also contrasts highly with the ballad that finishes the album, a superb pick of song placement.
When an artist tries to ambitiously reach beyond the boundaries of metal genres, and create something unique, something like this. It's either going to be a massive success, or fail. Thurisaz
played their own style flawlessly here, and in doing so created one of the most under-rated albums this decade. Get it. Now.