Review Summary: Falkenbach reaches stalemate.
A long time ago, one certain reviewer (whom shall remain nameless) loved and worshipped the very ground Falkenbach rode upon. Why is that? Because it was folk metal, and a lot of folk metal fans are very, very easy to please. So easy to please that a band could probably get away with making the same album over and over again. This is what Falkenbach essentially do, and it's never been more evident than in his new album, Tiurida
. After eight years of waiting for new material from the guy, a lot of people were absolutely pining for a new release. Instead we got a remake of an old album a few years after his last release, which was in 2003, which admittedly was excellent. This doesn't work in favour of Falkenbach though, because it shows that songwriting-wise, Falkenbach hasn't really got anywhere from day one. There's been nearly no progression since he first started releasing material.
is essentially just one of his old albums reworked with little to no difference in, well... just about anything. The instrumentation used is the same as his previous albums, that being the metal outfit and a handful of folk instruments. Not only that, but none of the songs do anything remotely interesting and all just sound like different versions of songs he released years ago, all taking the most predictable twists and turns they possibly can - so much so that the album just becomes annoying after a while. You can literally guess the next notes that Falkenbach are about to use in the melodies as they are played. This isn't to say simplicity is a bad thing, but when a whole album takes you on a journey lasting about 45 minutes, there has to be some kind of variation.
But there isn't. The instrumentation stays the same throughout the life of the album, and perhaps the most annoying bit is the fact that the album absolutely never leaves mid-tempo realms, making the experience become incredibly repetitive and tedious after a very short amount of time. The vocals are exactly as you'd expect from Falkenbach, a mix of choir-like chanting from Vratyas Vakyas that haven't had any improvements and are never in the slightest bit adventurous, and the screaming-like vocals that again, haven't taken any improvements or changes through the eight years it took him to get around to recording this. This coupled with the fact there is absolutely nothing new about this album makes it seem almost unforgivably stagnant. Talking about individual tracks would be pointless because they all essentially follow the same pattern. Mid-tempo drum beat plodding along, power chords, some folk instrumentation playing sometimes sickeningly stale melodies and a variation between two vocal styles (if you're lucky anyway) that have been heard before and better on his earlier albums. The only time this album even leaves mid-tempo is on the bonus track. There's nothing wrong with mid-tempo, but when it's the same on every track with no variation in anything else, the lack of anything new just becomes far too evident.
There is a reason that this review is as 'straight to the point' as it is, and that's because the album is just as 'staight to the point'. If you've heard one track from this album, you've almost literally heard them all. The lack of progression or diversity this album holds is almost scary, especially after 8 years of no new material from folk metal's beloved Vratyas Vakyas. If you're new to Falkenbach, start with his earlier material and work your way through his discography before listening to this one. This is essentially a stale, boring and almost sickeningly safe reboot of his old material. Falkenbach never was a very unique band, and this is okay, but this album just seems incredibly lazy for a band that is hailed as one of the godfathers of the genre. I often find viking metal quite perplexing for a multitude of reasons, and this is one of those reasons.