Originally written by Erik Thomas
Slithering in like a Longship amid the fog to the ill fated isle of Lindisfarne, Falkenbach somehow escaped my Viking/folk metal radar, sneaking by 2 albums before I finally laid ear to their epic sound. A one man project, (although this albums sees the use of session musicians) Vratyas Vakyas hails from Iceland, and has since relocated to Germany, so the combination of epic instrumentation imbuing trickling icy fjords and pounding war metal makes perfect sense. However, from researching the band, this album has lost some of its initial black metal influence now treading more mid paced later era Bathory (Hammerheart, Twilight of the Gods), steeped in grandiose, classically inspired sweeping passages and Vintersorg-ish clean vocals. The overall result is satisfying and at times superb, but is hindering by the one-man project syndrome anda cold structured atmosphere that’s contrary to the style it purveys.
The first three tracks, “Vanadis”, “As Long as the Winds Will Blow” and “Aduatuza” manage to hold my attention as they manage to mix metal and folk into epic hymns of old. Especially lengthy opener “Vanadis”, with its war horn intro, sweeping segway and pounding first salvos. Its section at 3:14 is a rousing, if synthetically laced few moments that sound great on a strong sound system. “Aduatuza” tells the tale of an oft seiged city on the Rhine with suitable warlike pacing and heroism, but seems to cut short and lacks the lyrical depth the subject matter seems to call for.
And thus the main flaws with Falkenbach are revealed, even within its strongest moments; 1) As a one man project, the ideas of Vakyas often repeat themselves, especially vocally (he sings in English , but it’s hard to tell), and 2) The whole affair seems slightly ‘rigid sounding’. The combination of the production, low quality keyboards and noncommittal session members reveal Falkenbach’s shortcomings despite some flair and talent. Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty, often wanes on me at around its midpoint, and “Homeward Shore” drones on somewhat. Even with better more varied songs, the album could have just sounded fuller or richer to complement or maybe even smother over its clinical feel to make it a truly brilliant album, but as it stands it’s just slightly off decent as a whole album.
Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty isn’t as good as I’d hoped, but has its moments. Still, for folk buffs this is probably an album worth owning for the first three songs and the album’s beautiful presentation (the gold emblazoned digi-pack version), as the genre is sparse enough as it is, so even rudimentary quality is acceptable here.