THURISAZ – Re-Incentive

THURISAZ – Re-Incentive

Scandinavians (Swallow The Sun, Katatonia) and The Britts (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, The Drowning), be they as they may be the kings of melodic deathened doom, there are bands of equal talent coming from unlikely places such as the Netherlands (Officium Triste) or this here, Thurisaz, from Wervik, West Flanders, Belgium, which are worthy of the same honor, appreciation and exposure. Last year Officium Triste rewarded our musical tastebuds with the excellent "The Death Of Gaia" and this year of terrible uncertainty and reigning plague Thurisaz offers a much more sophistacated work which combines death, doom with black, gothic and progressive rock for one of the most eclectic works in progressive metal, full of blistering riffing, addictive melodies and amazing clean vocalizations.

Thurisaz, which, according to, is the Norse/Viking mythology rune of brute force, which can be good in the hand of a good person or bad in an evil hand, had risen from the ashes of Modilium (1997-2000), and debuted under the current moniker with "Anno Viroviacum" demo (2002), followed by 4 LPs: "Scent Of A Dream" (2004), "Circadian Rhythm" (2007), "The Cimmerian Years" (2011), "The Pulse Of Mourning" (2015), before this, here, "Re-Incentive". Today the band is a quintet consisting of Peter Theuwen (guitars, clean vocals), Mattias Theuwen (guitars, screams), Kobe Cannière (keyboards, clean vocals), Nick Meganck (bass) and Pepijn de Raeymaecker (drums, whispers). I have never heard any of their previous work but I’m willing to blindly bet that this new album is their most ambitious and sophisticated work to date.

Indeed, listening to "Re-Incentive" is like being in the studio with (in order of appearance) Agalloch, My Dying Bride (dynamics from "The Light At The End Of The World" in the opener), Swallow The Sun, Amon Amarth, Insomnium, Hypocrisy, In Mourning, Paradise Lost (complete with cleans a’la Nicholas "Nick" John Arthur Holmes), Mar De Grises, Katatonia (with Jonas Petter Renkse-ian cleans), Officium Triste, Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, Opeth, Barren Earth, Pink Floyd (cleans so David Jon Gilmour-ish), Evanescence (piano a’la "My Immortal" in "Isle Of No-Man"), Anathema, The Alan Parsons Project, Clannad and Gojira (repetitive huge riff ending "Eternity Expires" and the album) all at once, to name just a few. The spectrum of this truly progressive album is astonishing. I mean, play "In-Balance" back to back with "Isle Of No Man" and tell me they both sound like the same band! Thurisaz seems to neither care about staying in one genre or styling for too long nor for maintaing any kind of momentum, but, like an ever-changing flame burns with many colors from the long and atmospheric black-ish doomish death of "In-Balance" and "The Veil" through the astonishingly romantic gothic metal of "Monologue" and back to melodeath (Illuminight) only to close with 3 tracks of progressive music where rock and metal fight for primacy. In this concoction, 3 tracks are absolutely perfect and they are also back to back: "The Veil", "Monologue" and "Illuminight", the shining beacons of this album, its crown jewels, which, along with the opening "In-Balance", form the more aggressive 1st half counterpointed by the progressive rock of the Opeth-ian "Exemption", "Isle Of No-Man" and "Eternity Expires", all 3 in similar vein and structure.

In fact, this clear sharp demarkation line between the end of "Illuminight" and "Exemption" reminds me of Anathema’s evolution from "The Silent Enigma" (1995) thru "Eternity" (1996) and onto "Alternative 4" (1998) or Opeth’s "Deliverance" (harsh, 2002)" and "Damnation" (2003, clean). Could they have gotten the idea from one or the other or even both? We could guess about this question, but, in my view, the aforementioned similarity of the 3 tracks on the 2nd half make it inferior to the almost perfect 1st half and the former appear to be almost afterthoughts, as if they had not really thought them through or run out of ideas. I say they appear to be so because there are, of course, no accidents on "Re-Incentive", everything has been meticulously put together and flawlessly performed. Still, the 2nd half had made me a little hungry and that hunger was never satisfied down the road, which is why we have the score you see above.

"Re-Incentive" is an excellent if flawed album which I, nevertheless, have a hard time putting down long enough to write this review. I recommend it if you enjoyed the latest from Officium Triste, The Drowning or even Omnium Gatherum. All 5 guys are ridiculously talented musicians and songwriters and I will definitely look out for more from them. Meanwhile, if you check out just one track let it be the wonderful "Monologue" which I am seriously in love with.