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Turia – Degen Van Licht Award winner

Degen Van Licht
by Aurora Kuczek at 13 April 2020, 2:28 PM

From the Netherlands comes TURIA, an atmospheric black metal band. The project began in 2014 and its sounds range to fit a more desolate abstractness. Their latest release, “Degen van Licht,” explores the depth of the natural scenery high up on crooked mountains where snow slides down the rocks like wind. This album is a continuous encompassment of ideas, a stream of consciousness wrapped up into a box that is not accessible unless delving deeper.

I” sets the scene somewhere beyond where the footsteps go. It is an electrically charged sound with high pitched entrances and low tones for the mood. It is quite peaceful, an acoustic harshness of melodies and of sound. There is a man up on the mountains. He is a wanderer who was told of treasure in the snow. But this treasure may be thought of as pyrite. He awaits a storm under a shelf and lights a candle. “Merode” continues the first track. The snow flows overtop and compacts the snow underneath. The music dances like DRUDKH and the vocal patterns are similar to SAOR. It is abstract and spacious, but it is grounded in a shroud of thoughts. The drums seem to outcompete the notes, and the noise grows harsher. There are key changes, ringing felt within the chest. Static fades and the man falls asleep using the wet snow as a blanket. “Met Sterven Beboet” is a blend of folk derived sounds with climbing drum and guitar patterns. The chords are simple, but provoking. Vocals are at its peak. Every beat hits at the right moment in time. A certain strangeness encapsulates the man.

He wakes and hears a sound of a bird in the middle of the hard mountain. There is a ringing of bells and a whimsical breath of air that jumps over the crevices. The pitch changes, and there is an echo. “Degen Van Licht” starts with a whir of feedback. It is a combinational piece with a memorable breach. It is almost alternative, building up and circling. The man realizes he had caught sight of a lost hummingbird, crawled in the crack in the mountain. With the storm, he begins to wonder if the bird will escape the altitude to return to the forest below. The wind creates a creepy noise, but it is stunning to the ear that remains attentive. The high pitch folk tune drains on, and strings on the guitar. It air feels lighter here, but the noise is heavier. The thought continues forward. “Storm” tells the story in feedback and noise, almost sounding like engines roaring in the night. Tremolo picking is off key for effect, sounding again like DRUDKH. It is a bouncing journey-scape, a feeling of coldness in a conceptual attitude. The man blows out his candle, and in his soft palms, he takes the small bird in one hand, careful not to crush the hollow bones. The snow is thick and it covers his eyebrows like paste. He hopes he will return by the end of the night. The noise harmonizes and the chorus cheers, and again, the world is one with the nature around her. “II” features synth piano, and atmospheric stillness heard throughout a vacant house with no doors. A paganistic ritual drum sounds historical texts further on. The man climbs and climbs, falls a few times. He carries the two down the mountain with one hand, and in the other, he can feel the bird’s small warmth.

The snow melts further down and the storm is not as harsh. He can see the stream he had passed long ago and the woods not much further. The noise begins to ring and random of notes overlay the dullness, similar to BURZUM. Sounds act as if searching for a lost signal and the world is quite spacious. It is graceful and intangible. “Ossifrage” draws the curtain with a patterned drum and synth-like sounds. A whistle is heard. The pitch changes, and the music is memorably styled, with simple ambience notes. The blend is more wholesome. It is fragile. The man reaches the forest by the next morning. He had twisted his ankle, and his face was blue. Another man saw the blue faced person and carried him out of the forest. He asked what the blue faced man was holding, and he told him the hummingbird. At once, he let his palm unfold. The iridescent bird, dazed by the light, moved its wings a bit, before taking off never to see the man again. It flew to another patch of forest which it had remembered from ages ago and watched its most beautiful flower blossom.

TURIA’s “Degen Van Licht” is a sensational creation of exquisite atmospheric noise. It generates a rhythm of thoughts, occasionally diverging from one to another. The feedback in the album was interesting, feeling as if the flow never ceased. But it was a bit much, and that would be a critique for the album. Nevertheless, this deserves a listen.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. I
2. Merode
3. Met Sterven Beboet
4. Degen van Licht
5. Storm
6. II
7. Ossifrage
T – Vocals
O – Guitar
J – Drums
Record Label: Eisenwald Productions


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Edited 01 February 2023

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