Review: Turia – Degen van Licht

Turia – Degen van Licht (Eisenwald)
Review by Milos Sebalj

If you, by any chance, come from Serbia, there is no way, looking at this band’s name, not to think about a place called Turija, renowned for its annual sausage festival. And why is that important for this review? It’s absolutely not, but I had an inexplicable urge to write it down.

Stepping outside the Serbian border, I find myself, again, in the underworld of the Netherlands, a country in whose Black Metal scene I’m slowly becoming an expert. For those of you not quite following my writing, I’m going to say that there is an enormous amount of quality Black Metal coming from the Netherlands recently, so you should definitely pay close attention to whatever is coming from there. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Now, for a band that is turning six years old this year, Turia has quite a rich discography, with “Degen van Licht” being their third full length album. As I’m not familiar with their previous recordings, I will not discuss the quality over quantity rate here. The only question I shall be addressing is whether this record is actually good enough to be counted among the successful Dutch products swarming my speakers in recent years.

It must be said that Turia is dwelling well within the old school of Black Metal genre. Their music is not focused on technical details, but on the atmosphere instead, which is fine, but difficult to achieve by basing one’s sound on some fairly primitive musical means. Luckily, Turia found a way to ‘bypass’ the raw riffing by including some unusual, deep, background melodies. That is by far the biggest strength of the album, as it elevates the listeners’ perspective to a much higher level. Considering the concept behind the album, it does create a picture in my mind, of a band of musicians wandering around the narrow trails of a mountain, using whatever sound they are encompassed with on their journey to create their own soundtrack.

Getting my head down from the mountaintops, I’m not a big fan of the vocals here, which, in my opinion, could’ve been stronger and more ‘decidedly’ performed, although the echoing does fall into the previously described theme. Other than that, I cannot complain about anything. “Degen van Licht” is a record that should be interesting both to fans of the early second wave Black Metal and the ones who find the Viking era Bathory to their liking. The album is all about the atmosphere which is successfully achieved through some quite unforeseen effects.

A band that should be kept on a close lookout, as I have a feeling they still haven’t performed their best. And when they do…

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