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Toblakai – The Book Of The Fallen

The Book Of The Fallen
by Thomas Kumke at 31 July 2022, 11:59 AM

 TOBLAKAI are from Graz, Austria, and they were formed by Rene Müller (DOOMED TO FAIL) in 2019. The Black Metal outfit was initially meant to be as a side project with Alex Fürbass (DOOMED TO FAIL) joining on drums. After releasing one EP, “The Book Of The Fallen” is the second full-length album. The album was written and recorded by Rene Müller and Alex Fürbass. It was mixed and mastered by Rene Müller. “The Book Of The Fallen” is an independent release and it has a length of almost 46 minutes.

As band and album name suggest, both is based upon the epic fantasy novels “Malazan Book Of The Fallen” written by Canadian Steven Erikson. In the Malazan empire, Toblakai was an escaped slave and a fanatic warrior in the holy desert Raraku. The album is a concept based on the character Karsa Orlong, who was a Teblor warrior from the Laederon Plateau. Orlong was a warrior of enormous size and with tremendous skills. The 10 songs on the album are built around this character, who was a killer and war leader, but also liberator of the slaves.

The album starts with “Witness” and a catchy lead guitar melody which transitions into a mid-tempo opener with tight guitar riffing and growling Black Metal vocals around the medium end of the guttural range. The vocals are intensified by deeper lying background growls. “Witness” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is given below. “Hail The Marines” continues with the sound of the opening track with a slightly faster rhythm and more dominant vocals during the chorus sections. The guitar parts are driven by the sharp riffing and a contributing lead guitar solo.

After the below par “Edge Of A Blade”, “The Book Of The Fallen” comes with two album highlights. “Icarium Lifestealer” opens with an acoustic intro, before the Folk inspired epic melodies drive the track forward. There is additional vocal support by Patrick Hiebler (DOOMED TO FAIL) who provides the deep growls. The track is faster than the previous ones with a lot of double-bass drumming. “The Wolves Of Winter” opens with a blast-beat thunderstorm leading into epic melodies. The verse sections are played at measured, almost sluggish rhythm while the chorus parts are driven by the drumming and the lead guitar melodies.

High King Kallor” and “Punitive Army Of Three” have dual vocal contributions, which is a mix of the deep growls of Patrick Hiebler and the higher vocals of Rene Müller. “Punitive Army Of Three” starts with an acoustic part which introduces the melodic main theme of the track. The melodies have some Folk vibes and some epic parts. The song texture is a bit more complex compared to most other songs on the album and it is easy to get lost during the song. The tempo is slow and measured for most of the time. “Chain Of Dogs” is a constant switch between measured verse parts where the deep growls intensify the atmosphere, and faster chorus parts which include the higher growls. The melodies have a lot of epic components which makes the track a standout song of the album.

Tools Rage” starts with another acoustic intro before catchy guitar riffing takes over. Most of the track is played at a slow and stomping pace. While a major part of the song is driven by the simple and uniform riffing, “Tools Rage” closes with a very contributing lead guitar part. “Battle Of The Spire” is one of the faster songs on the album. The guitar riffing is direct and powerful at times, but unfortunately not throughout. The epic components introduced during the middle part of the track are too familiar with those on previous tracks. I feel that this was a missed opportunity to go out with a very strong album closer.

TOBLAKAI deliver an album which leaves me with mixed feelings. “The Book Of The Fallen” is a concept album based on a fictive empire, opening up the opportunity to focus on the composition and arrangements of the songs. Unfortunately, a lot of tracks on the album are similar in terms of the melodies, the riffing, the vocals, and the rhythms. There are a couple of exceptions like “Icarium Lifestealer”, “The Wolves Of Winter”, and “Chain Of Dogs”, showing the songwriting potential of TOBLAKAI. The album is well produced. “The Book Of The Fallen” is a take-it-or-leave-it album and fans of epic Black Metal should give the album a listen.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Witness
2. Hail The Marines
3. Edge Of A Blade
4. Icarium Lifestealer
5. The Wolves Of Winter
6. High King Kallor
7. Punitive Army Of Three
8. Chain Of Dogs
9. Tools Rage
10. Battle Of The Spire
Rene Müller – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Alex Fürbass – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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