I seem to be on a Viking/Folk metal kick lately, because today we have Falkenbach, a Viking metal band from Germany. It is funny how time gets away from us; I was shocked to realize this is the first Falkenbach album in six years. I swear it does not seem like it has been that long, but Wikipedia wouldn’t lie, would it?
Vratyas Vakyas is the only full time member of Falkenbach and he utilizes session players to record albums. Falkenback is no Johnny-come-lately band on the Viking metal scene; the band was originally formed in the late 1980s and released a bunch of demos in the early to mid-90s before delivering the first album “...En Their Medh Riki Fara...” in 1996. “Tiurida” is only the fifth album to be released since then.
I have to wonder if Vratyas Vakyas was inspired by Quorthon/Bathory. He has the same one man band thing going on and the Viking theme that no one else was doing back then. I suppose there are some musical similarities as well, at least to the Hammerheart-era and Nordland-era Bathory material. But they don’t really sound all that much alike, it’s more of theme and mood similarity.
The music strikes a superb balance between epic sounding metal and lighter folk elements. The sound quality is very good yet does not give off that over-produced too polished sound. It’s very clear and sounds great, but does not have the punch of over compressed music. Rather, the album has a slightly ethereal feel to it. The vocals are mostly clean, but there are some harsh vocals as well.
It is a shame that Falkenbach albums are so few and far between because I think this one makes a prime example of what good Viking metal should sound like. Check out the track “In Flames” it really has a bit of everything going on. Then check out the rest of the album. Just like the old Bathory albums this will one day be a classic.