Thurisaz – Re-Incentive Review

What do Dark Tranquillity, Haken, and Symphony X all have in common besides a track record of stellar metal albums? The help of Swedish producer, mixer, and recording engineer Jens Bogren, of course! The list of bands Jens has influenced in some way or another goes on and on. I could easily reach my word count cap for this review by rattling off albums Jens has sprinkled his magic mixing fairy dust over. When I saw Jens had a hand in Thurisaz‘s latest album, Re-Incentive, I couldn’t bear to pass it up. Jens Bogren has a way with helping jettison every album he touches into a lush and beautiful, heavy metal haze. The records he helps produce have an organicness to them that often makes me feel as though I’m traipsing through a mystical, misty forest while listening. Thurisaz‘s Re-Incentive is no exception.

Thurisaz is a Belgian band blending together an atmospheric concoction of black, doom, and death metal. Their latest album is heavy on the atmosphere and lighter on the death and doom. Despite being a part of the metal scene for over two decades now, Thurisaz‘s sound on Re-Incentive is beautiful and unassuming. The band got together to start working on this album a couple of years ago now, motivated by sharing with the world the intense darkness one feels when dealing with the depression and heartbreak. Thurisaz manage to pack the heavy moodiness of Insomnium, shimmering orchestral strings akin to those in Amiensus’s records, and the delicate melody of Asira all in a single punch.

The first track on the album, “In Balance,” alternates between sounding menacing, with shrill, black metal shrieks, and soothing with chilled out, clean vocals. Something Thurisaz does especially well is the way vocal layers interlace and cascade on top of each other. “Monologue” juxtaposes urgent, harsh vocals directly alongside lulling, clean vocals for a unique and interesting effect. “Illuminight,” which exhibits an emotive acoustic section sandwiched in the middle of the track, similarly gives way to a combination of black metal rasps and gentle, floating clean vocals following a billowing orchestral build. “Isle of No-Man,” a somber but gorgeous ballad, is my favorite track on the album. The swirling synths and delicate piano in the introduction are rich with nostalgia. A quick glance at the amplitude of the sound waves of the song follow the pattern of a positive linear function almost the entire way through, a true attestation to the fact that this emotional song truly is a slow-burner. “Isle of No-Man” slaps.

Re-Incentive is not completely without flaw. At times, the instrumental sections overstay their welcome, droning on repetitively for far too long. The latter half of “Eternity Expires,” which closes out the album, is particularly guilty of this. Intro track “In Balance” clocks in at ten minutes alone, which unfortunately comes across as intimidating, not the best first impression. Re-Incentive is a self-release, and I have to believe this was an active choice made by the band based on Thurisaz‘s professional sound. I wonder if this decision allowed the band to create an album more true to themselves, completely free of any pressure from an externally owned or operated label.

Re-Incentive is a solid album. It sounds dense and beautifully mastered. I wonder how much of that is attributed to Jens Bogren’s involvement. Where would Thurisaz be without our the wonderworker of lush albums? I suspect Thurisaz lacks a certain spunk and spontaneity that without the help of Jens would have resulted in a more tepid release. Alas, there’s no point in worrying about such things. Re-Incentive is poignant and special the way it is. Thurisaz‘s latest album may hit you right in the gut with a severe case of the feels.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: thurisaz.be | facebook.com/thurisazbelgium
Releases Worldwide: September 1st, 2020

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