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Following the protocol par excellence - 60%

UCTYKAH, February 1st, 2013

Admittedly, I made up my mind about these guys (and one gal) without even hearing the album in its entirety. I did go back to it, of course, but that did not change the initial impression by a whole lot. Turambar are solid foot soldiers marching under the stoner/sludge banner of doom. They are good at being what they are and, hence, at doing what they do. This is as high a praise as I am willing to bestow upon them. They sound very, er, proper - the guitar tone, musicianship, (somewhat low key) vocals. Problem: there is nothing to add on top of that. In fact, Turambar are so "by the book", they would not let go of it or change route even if the Four Horsemen struck out in broad daylight and forced everyone to move it Gangnam style or face immediate annihilation.

We know that everyone in the doom (stoner and sludge subgenres in particular) genre recycles the same riffs. Black Sabbath riffs, Pentagram riffs, St.Vitus riffs, Trouble riffs, what have you. Not everyone, however, can (re)present them interestingly. Turambar openly shun progress of any kind and stick with being proper, dedicated foot soldiers. They lay down some thick grooves and some smoky wah solos alright, but also spend a lot of time simply jamming around instead of composing, which is why "Dhatura" ends up being an incredibly long record without much of a beginning or an end to speak of. I bet the band could fill another half a dozen CD's with similar jams. Which is certainly fine and dandy for proactive pot smokers. Others, whose attention span has not yet become as lulled and relaxed by the aromatic green fumes of the mighty sweet leaf, might be less predisposed towards repeating this here journey. Ok, the lyrics on "Dhatura" actually have nothing to do with doping it up but, frankly, when you have Kyuss and Sleep and Orange Goblin, plus Cathedral, Electric Wizard and Monster Magnet and do not forget Grief and Eyehategood etc., etc, etc. - all at your disposal, you might not necessarily find the time for Turanbar and, if you do once in a blue moon, you might not necessarily get all the way through.

This band clutch their textbook really hard, and they are good at it - straight "A" students. I'll give 'em that. The downside of this is that a textbook will teach you all the right things in life, but it will not teach you how to be creative - an imperative aspect, or so I heard people claim. On the other hand, Turanbar appear to be very happy being where they are, which is also important, because not everyone can be a philosopher-king. Someone has to sweep the streets, lay bricks and bake bread. Not so glamorous yet very foundationally important. There are tons of groups like this in any genre. Turambar are those guys. Raise your glasses to the working man but do not expect him to have that much finesse. 'Cause, you know, he does not have time for this crap, 'cause, you know, he works for a living.