Thurisaz – Re-Incentive
If ever there was a band that transgressed genres, it’s Thurisaz. At least in the eyes of reviewers and the general public. They’ve been labelled avantgarde, black folk, atmospheric death and progressive doom metal. Whatever label they’re given, they’re an amazing live band that you’d have to see at least once in your life. They’ve performed amazing shows at festivals like Graspop, but also played an amazing acoustic gig with live violins and cello that they filmed for their aptly named DVD “Live & Acoustic“. Five years after their latest release the Belgians treat us to “Re-Incentive”, their fifth full length album.
‘In-Balance’ starts off atmospheric and calm, picks up after about a minute in, but two minutes in properly kicks off. Guttural growls, black metal screams, foreboding, eerie keyboards that sometimes remind the listener of the synth sound pioneered by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in their song ‘Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)’. The song alternates calmer parts with clean vocals with the darker, more pressing verses having harsh vocals and soundscape post rock intermezzos carried by the synths.
‘The Veil’ might be the song that plays to the band’s roots the most. This second song on the album was released as one of the singles before the album came out, and you can definitely hear why. The song starts out strong with a guitar driven black metal-esque start. A whispered bridge adds to the ominous atmosphere painted with this song. A chorus with clean vocals, screams and growls underneath brings the epicness of the whole song home. Even though at slightly over 6 minutes of music and the shortest song on the album, it is definitely one of my favourites.
Thurisaz – The Veil (click here if video doesn’t play)
The next song we also knew before the album came out. ‘Monologue’ was released as the first single. Slightly slower than ‘The Veil’, its brooding, melancholic lyrics and sound steer this song more towards the doom end of the metal spectrum. The band lets a glimmer of hope shine through towards the end though, following up the beautiful sadness with an amazingly sung close harmony.
After being given a breather, ‘Illuminight’ kicks off at full throttle again. Starting with drums driving the song, sweet flowing guitar melodies, followed up with gut-punching guttural vocals. Thurisaz emphasizes the impending doom emanating from this song with calmer passages and even an acoustic guitar intermezzo halfway through the song. In the end the band open the floodgates completely and end the song the way it started: full on with the drums driving the song towards the end, cinematic synths and beautifully haunting clean vocals.
Thurisaz – Monologue (click here if video doesn’t play)
Synths again play a key role in the ‘Exemption’. Together with the clean vocals they build up melancholy from the slow start to just over the halfway point of the song, where the guitars and drums kick in. From there on the rest of the band plays support to the keys; Kobe Cannière skillfully leads us through the remainder of the song with keyboard melodies that are both melancholic, but also slightly uplifting at the same time.
‘Isle of No-Man’ starts with piano and strings. Building the soundscape to the point where the listener is emerged in a calm and gentle world, the soothing music lulling them into a sense of security. Clean vocal harmonies slowly makes the listener aware that not all is as it seems, until, five minutes into the song, the guitars crash in like a wave. ‘Isle of No-Man’ is the sort of cross-over you’d get if Pink Floyd had decided they’d want to play modern post rock/metal.
Thurisaz – Illuminight (click here if video doesn’t play)
Seamlessly the keyboards lead out ‘Isle of No-Man’ and take us into the last song of the album, ‘Eternity Expires’. Thurisaz takes us on a master class of building momentum in this song. Clean vocals start off this song together with the synths. Keys and orchestral synths carry this song all the way through to the end. Showcasing the amazing talent that these guys have for making compositions that wouldn’t be amiss in Hollywood blockbusters, they dreamily carry us to the end of the album, emphasizing the fact that they started out the album in a darker, much more negative atmosphere. I chose to believe that this was purposefully done, with the band trying to tell us that after all the doom and gloom, everything will be alright in the end. This is showcased by the fact that in the last three songs on the album there are no growls or screams at all.
Expectations were high after their previous release “The Pulse of Mourning” got praise all around. “Re-Incentive” lives up to these expectations, and then some. The band pulls you into their musical world from the first notes, and don’t release you from the beautiful soundscape until the last keyboard notes have faded out. In the end, I think the only possible way these guys can ever improve on the album will be if they play the entire thing from start to finish in a live setting because although they sound amazing on album the absolute best way to experience Thurisaz is through one of their epic live shows.
- The Veil
- Isle of No-Man
- Eternity Expires