Not to be confused with their fierce Finnish cousins Turisas, Belgium’s Thurisaz are an esoteric folk metal quintet who are really coming into their own with their sophomore effort Circadian Rhythm. Wisely steering almost entirely away from headbangable compositions, the album is crammed full of spacious arrangements and wispy medieval six-to-seven minute epics. The outfit’s chops speak for themselves: the guitars are an extension of the sorrowful, yearning mood, and coalesce wonderfully with the piano, strings and odd flute, while Pepijn de Raeymaecker’s drumming seems to exist on another plane altogether. Their vocalist Mattias Theuwen takes his cue from others in the game (equal parts black metal scream and shrill King Diamond-esque shrieks) but bolder still is the band’s unique and innovative use of monologues in their songs, such as “Point of No Return”, or the traditional folk chanting in the title track and “Betrayed”. Most mystifying of all is the seething closer “Past Perfect”, wrapped around a dissonant piano arpeggio and melodic melancholia. An album that simultaneously mourns death and loss and prepares for conquest and revenge, it certainly doesn’t have everyday appeal written all over it. Still, there’s significant evidence here that Thurisaz are fast establishing themselves as one of the leaders in the folk metal scene. Ignore at your peril.
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// Notes from the Road
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