Thurisaz - Re-Incentive review



Reviewer:
8.3

44 users:
8.09
Band: Thurisaz
Album: Re-Incentive
Release date: September 2020


01. In-Balance
02. The Veil
03. Monologue
04. Illuminight
05. Exemption
06. Isle Of No-Man
07. Eternity Expires


Thurisaz have spent a long time making high-quality music with a relatively wide appeal without really gathering much momentum. It would be nice if Re-Incentive changed that.

I discovered these Belgians in 2011 with The Cimmerian Years, an album I've always liked a lot but very rarely returned to. The style that Thurisaz play is hard to pin down (The Cimmerian Years is classified as the wonderfully ambiguous "Dark Metal" in my iTunes); there's a clear meloblack side to their sound, between the melancholic tremolo riffs and harsh vocals, but also progressive songwriting tendencies, Finnish melodeath influences from the likes of Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, prominent keyboards, doomy leanings and more, all capped off with a warm, rich production (mastered this time around by Jens Bogren). It sounds like the kind of potent mix that would ensnare a sizeable audience, but it hasn't quite worked out as such. Re-Incentive is album number five for Thurisaz and arrived with limited fanfare, but sees the band nailing the mix of different influences about as well as they have yet.

The record opens with its longest song, the 10-minute "In-Balance", and this track does suggest at one possible reason the group may have struggled; the harsh vocals, whether growled or rasped, aren't quite up to the level of the rest of the album. As the song opens with a series of proggy melodeath riffs accompanied by these vocals, it does feel slightly underwhelming; however, when the first clean vocal section arrives midway through the track, Thurisaz highlight where their strengths lie, with rich vocal harmonies on top of an evocative atmospheric instrumental backdrop. As well as the band deliver the more extreme-leaning riffs on Re-Incentive, they truly shine in the more grandiose, atmospheric and melodic portions of the record. An example of such grandiose atmosphere occurs in the latter stretches of "In-Balance", as for several minutes the tension builds through vocal/instrumental layering and intensifying percussion, an emphatic early demonstration of the band's abilities, before transitioning into a lovely In Mourning-esque climax.

"In-Balance", whilst not perfect, sets a strong standard for the rest of the record to follow, but several tracks not only match but exceed said standard. "The Veil" is fairly in line with the track it follows, but is a bit more meloblack-oriented in its heavier riffs, and also features some really nice lead guitar melodies in the chorus. There's a hint of Ghost Brigade in the gloomy clean vocals on Re-Incentive, albeit without quite as much fullness to them. "Monologue" feels very much like an extension of "The Veil", but some of the later tracks take different approaches. "Illuminight" is possibly the most meloblack-heavy of the songs here, with plenty of rousing tremolo riffs, but also features some very Omnium Gatherum-esque segments and a left-field acoustic detour halfway through, turning out to be perhaps the proggiest of the bunch. "Exemption", in contrast to the blasts in "Illuminight", is one of the softer songs here, with a bit of a Steven Wilson vibe earlier on and a poised, stirring second half.

The quality doesn't let up in the final two tracks, with luscious piano in much of "Isle Of No-Man" and some metalgaze hints towards its end, and with "Eternity Expires" channelling "In-Balance" as it layers and intensities whilst dragging Re-Incentive to an emphatic conclusion. The concerns about some of the vocals aside, Re-Incentive is a really stirring, elegantly composed record that shows Thurisaz at their finest, drenching the listener with serene synths, melancholic vocal melodies, rousing bursts of intensity and smooth guitar melodies. Re-Incentive has all the ingredients to finally acquire Thurisaz the audience that their brand of extreme melodic prog both deserves and seems purpose-built to appeal to; whether it translates into a meaningful increase in their fanbase remains to be seen, but regardless it's a fine achievement.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 07.09.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 126 users
08.09.2020 - 01:09
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Awesome album, excellent review. You nailed it with the references, especially Ghost Brigade.
Loading...
08.09.2020 - 01:11
nikarg
Mod
One of my favourite albums this year. Your review sums up my view of it, especially your point about the harsh vocals. I had the same feeling and I thought it was just me but it seems others may think similarly. The harsh vocals are not a deal breaker by any means, but the cleans are so much better and the vocal harmonies are so great that I wish there were no harsh vocals at all. In all fairness, the first time I listened to the album I almost abandoned it after a few minutes into the first track but Radu was so enthusiastic about it that I decided to let it play. And I am glad I did, I love this album and it will get many plays from me.
Loading...
08.09.2020 - 01:47
musclassia
Written by nikarg on 08.09.2020 at 01:11

One of my favourite albums this year. Your review sums up my view of it, especially your point about the harsh vocals. I had the same feeling and I thought it was just me but it seems others may think similarly. The harsh vocals are not a deal breaker by any means, but the cleans are so much better and the vocal harmonies are so great that I wish there were no harsh vocals at all. In all fairness, the first time I listened to the album I almost abandoned it after a few minutes into the first track but Radu was so enthusiastic about it that I decided to let it play. And I am glad I did, I love this album and it will get many plays from me.


Yeah I was wondering whether other people would feel the same; they did lack something compared to the rest, and don't quite give the album the strong first impression that the rest of the album deserves
Loading...
12.09.2020 - 18:23
tintinb
I didn't really notice the vocals at all. The melodic nature of the latter part of the album sold me to this.
Loading...

Hits total: 1171 | This month: 1171