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In calm waters - 65%

Felix 1666, March 23rd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Napalm Records (Digipak)

As long as we are speaking about metal, we usually like to mention terms such as currishness, power, vehemence or, of course, heaviness. This does not mean in reverse that products without these ingredients are necessarily a bad thing. Nevertheless, in order to create an effective and punchy metal album, it is helpful to integrate at least one or the other of the aforementioned elements. Unfortunately, Falkenbach´s third full-length must be described with different attributes. Tranquility, harmony and deliberation are the words that come to mind first. The front cover indicates this approach. No doubt that it is a fantastic artwork, but its warm colours do not generate an atmosphere of metallic aggression. Thank Odin, lone fighter Vratyas has too much creative powers to be at risk to publish a really weak album. Nevertheless, "Ok nefna tysvar Ty" does not deserve the highest praise. It fails to offer outstanding highlights. Therefore, it must be described as a solid album that lacks of dynamism and rawness. Despite this regrettable fact, it features more or less great melodies.

The epic opener points the way. Pretty nice harmonies do not do any harm while female background vocals try to deliver some dramatic moments. The clean lead vocals lack of penetrative power. Breaks and tempo changes are rarely used. The focus is set on leisureliness. Too bad that Vratyas is not able to prevent a slightly tedious overall impression. Roughly spoken, the description of the opener is also suitable for the following tracks. Only "Donar´s Oak" surpasses the other songs because of its inspiring liveliness. Soft tones introduce this number. But as soon as the drums and the electric guitar set in, the song is driven by its more or less intoxicating melody and mid-tempo drums. However, where there is light, there is also shadow: it remains a mystery why Falkenbach decided to offer an acoustic version of "...the Ardent Awaited Land". Its metallic original has already been presented on a regular full-length. The new version appears simply superfluous. What is even worse, its release indicates a slight lack of creativeness. Frankly speaking, I do not see any other reason for releasing this song again instead of offering a new one. Already the original version does not belong to the best tunes of Falkenbach. But this strange selection does definitely not constitute the main problem of this work.

The biggest mistake is that Vratyas needed five years in order to produce and release an album which wanders aimlessly between folk music and melody-oriented viking rock. Really harsh elements do not occur during the whole playtime. The voluntary renunciation of metallic power is not comprehensible, especially in view of the admirable quality of the raw debut. Honestly spoken, I do not really like Bathory´s viking albums. "Ok nefna tysvar Ty" sounds like the little brother of Quorthon´s "Twilight of the Gods" - and it has the same effect. It is fairly dramatic in its best moments, but it fails to stir up huge emotions. Due to this situation, the organic sound of the transparent production is not of vital importance. If things continue like this, Vratyas will not arrive at his destination called Thule.

From stormy seas to tranquil shores. - 80%

hells_unicorn, April 24th, 2013

The extremely close proximity that Falkenbach's middle era shares with Quorthon's unfinished "Nordland" series may seem a coincidence to some, and a blatant case of student following teacher a bit too closely for others, but it is instructive regardless. It showcases a rather uncanny level of conservatism and traditionalism on the part of the former that definitely fits with the devotion to olden tales that typify the Folk/Viking style's lyrical pursuits. And while this one-man project's 2nd album could be seen as a near perfect adherence to the traditions laid forth on "Hammerheart", "Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty" actually ventures a bit beyond what Bathory had originally conceived on a few levels, mostly dealing with the level of depth and arguably the entire dimensions/character of the sub-genre's sound.

While not really any fancier or more technically adventurous than its predecessor, this album features a Falkenbach that has broken with its lone warrior in the midst approach in favor of something bigger, perhaps on some level comparable to "Twilight Of The Gods", though far more polished and pristine in sound. It is still possessed of that chunky, bass heavy stomping sound typical of the lingering Manowar influences on the genre, but this album is far lighter and loftier in its general feel. The guitars and bass are downplayed to a considerable extent, and what little in the way of activity in the former department is sound in folksy melodic lines played by acoustic instruments. In essence, the electric guitars have become part of the rhythm section, allowing for a heightened role for the flute and keyboard lines, thus putting forth a sound that comes off as a lighter shade of metal that almost becomes rock.

Technically speaking, the culmination of this album sees a Falkenbach that has ceased to be a one-person project and listens more like a full band, and this is largely due to the inclusion of additional musicians. A good deal of this album's higher fidelity is found in the drum sound, which is notably crisper, while the beats imployed are a bit more elaborate and gripping thanks to the inclusion of a session drummer rather than a programmed drum line. Similarly, another individual makes an appearance to assist with vocals, resulting in a denser harmonic texture and an expanded clean vocal range that dwarfs the previous albums in that particular department. Consequently, this also marks a de facto abandonment of the black metal roots that defined this band's ambitious debut release. In this respect alone, it is quite understandable that the average black metal fan who might take to some of Falkenbach's material would be repelled by this album.

One thing is certain, the songwriting and pacing of this album is methodical to a fault. Essentially things begin and end of a particularly high note with two long-winded epics in "Vanadis" and "Farewell", both of them fairly similar to the brighter points on the last album. Themes are repeated constantly as droning rock riffs and married to animated folksy flute and acoustic guitar lines with a dense keyboard backdrop, together painting a musical image that hints at the visual majesty of the distant shores conquered by the original Vikings. Between them is a set of shorter and humbler efforts that have more of a ballad quality to them, particularly that of "The Ardent Awaited Land" which listens more like an interlude than a full song. The only one of these songs that kind of mixes things up a bit is "Homeward Shore" as it puts a bit more emphasis on the guitars and walks back to a more animated place while still being reminiscent of the coasting granduer of "Twilight Of The Gods".

This is the weakest of Falkenbach's full length offerings, contrary to what a sizable number of core fans might say to the contrary, and it falls all but entirely on the fact that things are just a little too structured and lacking in metallic edge. While Viking metal usually works best when played slow and with a grand atmosphere, this veers pretty close to sounding contrived rather than organic and natural. In other words, it listens like a man who simply wishes to walk in Quorthon's footsteps rather than try to expand upon his musical journeys. It gets almost to the point where I am tempted to brand this "Nordland III", though there are points where the melodies get animated and dance-like enough (particularly on "Farewell") that it leaves behind Bathory's rugged, slowed down music stoicism. It's a good album by any reasonable standard and will definitely sit well with fans of the genre, but it's pretty far from genre-defining.

For those who miss late Bathory - 79%

erebuszine, April 22nd, 2013

It is perhaps particularly fitting that I should be taking a look at this album this week, what with the news we have just been given that Bathory's Quorthon passed away, on Monday, the 7th of this month, as Falkenbach (and the bands related to it, that is: the bands who fill out the recesses of the particular "folk" or "viking" metal genre) surely would not exist if it were not for the initial stimulation and guiding influence (plus continuing inspiration) that Bathory has provided for musicians who have sought to use this innately conservative (it allows for precious few deviations from its aesthetic pattern) genre for their musical effusions. I am not in the mood right now to trace every single origin point and progression of the viking metal genre, but it is obvious from just one listen to this album that Bathory's "Hammerheart" and "Twilight of the Gods" releases (if not the later viking Bathory records as well) have had a tremendous impact on Falkenbach's solo creator, to the point where he finds himself limited in his stylistic and/or creative potential by boundaries that Quorthon set in stone more than a decade ago.

Having pointed out the limitations that a genre like this imposes, I should also call attention to the fact that such a close concentration on specific aesthetic qualities frees a large amount of energy from the creative process for a basic perfecting of the traits offered in the music. Because the initial blueprint for the music is so traditional and/or artificially limited from the beginning from the musician's unwillingness to transcend genre boundaries and explode the conservative, time-worn, conventional structures or forms that can be offered, it correspondingly allows him/her more time and mental energy to "purify" what is presented on the record and/or concretely capture what he/she is trying to express. There are some musicians who would see that as only being a positive effect, I'm sure. Correspondingly, for the reviewer approaching an album like this, the choice of genre restrictions simplifies the entire "critical process" that would normally be applied to a work. All one has to do is compare this album to Bathory's work, notice/point to the deviations, label and categorize the "improvements", and briefly point out whatever idiosyncratic high points that might exist.

Falkenbach, then, of course follow the patterns/methods/forms of song composition first heard in limited doses on "Blood Fire Death" (the first song and title track) and then explored more in depth on "Hammerheart". That is: acoustic guitar intros or overriding ambient acoustic shadowing of electric power chords, acoustic melody introduction tailed by a switch to the same melodies on electric guitars, thick, stomping power chord progressions in straightforward, overtly repetitive and "trance-inducing" atmospheric form, a mid-paced, marching tempo and simplistic drum figures that pound out the end of bars with overemphasized, basic fills, swelling "viking" choruses composed of layered monotone, wordless voices (just singing notes, not lyrics), sound effects of water and evocative "viking-themed" cinematic additions, etc. All of this was present on "Hammerheart" and all of these things appear here. So, then... how does Falkenbach improve upon (if he does) the Bathory formula?

Well... he doesn't add anything new. If anything, as I alluded to above, he (Vratyas, sole member of Falkenbach) just attempts to clean up some of the stylistic elements found on the fifth and sixth Bathory records, perhaps draw their lines a little deeper, bring out some of the particulars cast in shadow, smooth and out and tone down other segments, etc. In terms of the production used, there is no contest as the rough/ready, sturdy, analog wash of Quorthon's tape machines (the master reels of which, if one believes what the man said himself, were subjected to level upon level of editing) has been left behind for a startlingly clear, sun-filled, crystalline and clean sound that captures the sounds of most of the instruments at their most powerful (at least for Falkenbach) and doesn't create "wavering points" or "crossover" gaps/shadows in the production where song elements can hide their inconclusive unreliability - unlike Bathory. What this also means, unfortunately, is that in this clean-all-too-clean sound a lot of the corrosive passion and heroic tonal strength of the analog has been left behind for a shade-less, sterile plain of simplistic song structures that can not quite meet the level of the "epic". It is as if... mid-period Bathory, simplified and reduced to its stylistic essentials, its most basic ideas, can not stand the scrutiny of the unblinking eye of a digital recording process. Much like what Graveland has been spitting out over Darken's last few albums, the disinfected, barren, almost mathematically conceived (insert riffs A and B into "epic" formula, calculate, record the results) song structures and basic forms of riff manipulation within those greater song types almost seem to call out for a curtain of tape hiss and wavering '80s distorted analog muddiness to cast their most dramatic moments into high relief. This seems to be a lesson learned from "Hammerheart"... and yet, how strange, this archetype of the "heroic" in music that requires, in the sound of its own unveiling, another veil/challenge of a "bad" production for its riffs to climb and clamber over? Art, in this case, mirrors its own delivery vehicle.

Falkenbach, however, are not actually worth - in my humble opinion - the hackneyed ruminations that I am wasting here. I can not understand how a musician can be so obsessed with a single genre form of music that he casts all of his creations (and this is hyperbole, probably misguided... as I'm sure "Vratyas" has two or three projects on the side, these guys always do) into that form and never attempts, outside of a few flourished, vain, inherently pointless asides, to escape the boundaries of that genre or create something new which may or may not reflect his own personality or character. One must remember that the "viking metal" genre was only one of the styles that Quorthon visited, as well.

Recommended only for those who place their dark hearts firmly in between Quorthon's fifth and sixth, or for those who salivate over empty genre forms devoid of genuine feeling or evocative power. Vratyas should be paying a licensing fee to Quorthon's family.

UA

Erebus Magazine
http://erebuszine.blogspot.com

They've done better things, even if it's not bad - 85%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, February 12th, 2009

The third effort by the mythical Falkenbach saw the light of the day just five years after an album that still now is regarded as a milestone in Viking metal. ...Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri... opened the pearly gates to Vratyas Vakyas and his creature. Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty is an album that remains on levels of goodness even if it cannot beat the greatness of its precursor. To be sincere, this output took me aback a bit because it’s always quite good and you know how much is difficult to preserve that songwriting and come out with new ideas, without deforming the style and the music. Few changes took place as far the line-up is concerned and we can finally see session musicians for the album. Finally, the drums are real and without that plastic sound by the drum machine.

“Vanadis” has immediately gloom horn sounds as the first, majestic keyboards notes enter. Soon the other instruments enter along with the clean vocals. The progression is, as always, truly epic but we can meet gloomier sections too in which the atmosphere changes a bit to let the growlish vocals emerge too. The various overtures are always epic but not that awesome like the ones on the previous album. “...As Long As Winds Will Blow...” is beautiful for the use of the flute sound and the melodic arpeggios to create a truly pagan feeling while we continue with the clean vocals patterns. “Aduatuza” has sounds of a storm before the epic break with the unmistakable mid-paced progression. We remain on good levels but nothing astounding because on some points the formula sounds a bit abused, but nothing bad.

“Donar's Oak” accomplished its mission to bring in more acoustic touches as the guitars are on arpeggios during the biggest part of the composition. Another thing I’ve noticed that so far, the old black metal influences are almost disappeared if we don’t count the few screamed parts that don’t add almost anything in black metal, if taken aside. The road Falkenbach took after the second effort is the one of more melody and catchiness. “...the Ardent Awaited Land” is the next example of this style and it features clean guitars parts only, forgetting completely a minimum of heaviness. “Homeward Shore” is quite long and boring because features always the same style and melodies while the vocals remain unvaried.

“Farewell” contains really catchy folk melodies but we remain on decent levels. These last two songs let me down a bit even if they are not bad, absolutely. Well, like I said, it was difficult to reach again the levels of the first two releases and the band somehow failed but it’s not a total failure in the meaning of the word. It’s just a quite good album and I’m sure that if someone unknown had done the same album without releasing that previous masterpiece we would be here, bowed down to worship him. Anyway, Falkenbach fans, get this one too but forget about the black metal influences!

More of the same - 61%

Kraehe, March 13th, 2008

Imagine Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri, but lighter and with better production: this is it. Vanadis picks up where the last album left off with a cheap keyboard "orchestra" playing quite a pleasant tune without any bombast, which climaxes, then cuts out for the band proper. Credit where it is due, the opening vocal melody is stunning, and as-per usual, it is milked for all it is worth throughout the lengthy first track. The keyboard use is more subtle than the previous album, and the production is massively more refined. The guitars no longer have a raw edge or provide a large body to the music - they are quite restrained and 'nice' sounding. Almost identically to the previous album's opener, the lengthy opening melody gives way to a harsh vocal section which is done well - his 'black metal vocals' still sound decent. Slightly suspect drums during this segment, they become a lot closer and louder than the previous backing was, leading me to suspect that there is at least a little drum machine use or spot-micing in the production - perhaps like the 'timpani' whacks done in the previous album - probably on keys. This section is also accompanied by keyboards which switch from backing ambience to truly obnoxious "UH UH UH" sounds which continue unmodified for about a minute. This kind of crap is the stock effect for "EPIC CHOIR VOCALS" but it is shamelessly awful and sounds so little like what it is trying to approximate both in sound and form that it is inexcusable. The song then repeats. A lot. But frankly it can be forgiven as the vocal melody is just so good.

As Long as the Winds Will Blow is next, and this is probably Falkenbach's best song from this and the previous album. Beautiful beginning, with very good use of acoustic guitars (why didn't the band use them in the previous album?). A typically attractive clean vocal melody presents itself, and for once the track does not outlast its welcome and comes to a satisfying conclusion: it's perhaps the only Falkenbach track which does - usually the material is stretched to twice this length. Aduatuza starts with a sample. Nobody likes these, so let's ignore it. At least it's vaguely ambient. This is typical Falkenbach, the beginning is highly reminiscent of Walhall from the previous album, and then enters into a very standard Falkenbach melody which it feels as though I have heard once too often. Donar's Oak almost sounds routine. Unto the Ardent Awaited Land marks a change, using only acoustic guitars. Of course, the ubiquitous keyboards are also present, playing a "choral" melody barely better than the little shocker in Vanadis. Following the feel of the previous tracks, this is entirely too "harmless" - metal with this many rough edges removes becomes plain.

Homeward Shore is the first track to offer a riff that could be considered heavy. It sounds pleasantly epic with more acoustic strumming backing it (a welcome change from the keys). Unfortunately the effect is a blandness which even the short song length cannot dissapate. Farewell at least ends the album on a higher level. The vocal melody is appealing and displays echoes of Garm in Ulver's Bergtatt. The reason that this album is inferior to Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri is that while it doesn't have the truly terrible distorted spoken vocals used there, the style has become formulaic and the overproduced guitars sound weak and sugary, boosting the overall lethargic feel to the album. A simple comparison of the opening tracks on both releases reveal an intolerable amount of similarities which allowed the later track to be extremely predictable. There are inspired moments in this album, and if the whole release was as strong as the first two tracks this would've scored 80% or more.

Where's the Black Metal influence? - 74%

oneinfinity, February 12th, 2008

A while back I looked through my CD collection and searched for some albums that I had not listened to for a long time and stumbled upon Falkenbach's "Heralding - The Fireblade" and after listening to it for a while I decided to get some more material by Falkenbach. So I went to my local record store and ordered this album and after waiting two weeks I finally got to listen to it.

I was a bit disappointed. The album started out nice with the nine minute epic "Vanadis", with epic keyboards, pounding drums and... hey where's the guitar? There's no guitar, but instead this annoying flute playing the melody. The first time I could hear the guitar was when that guy started to do some black metal vocals. I hoped the album would continue like that, but I was disappointed again. That little bit aside, there's no black metal influence on this album and no riffs on half of the songs.

The second half of this album is better, it has some good riffs, which are not buried under a lot of keyboards and folk instruments. There are too much clean vocals on "Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty" and the drumming fits the music pretty well, but gets boring after a while. The only thing that's done nearly perfect is the usage of the bass. The bass lines are not really creative, but I like the way they are integrated in the music.

All in all, "Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty" is a solid album that fans of cheesy epic folk metal will like, but I personally prefer the more raw style of Falkenbach's other albums.

Best song: "Donar's Oak"
Worst song: "...As Long As Winds Will Blow..."

Great Folk/Viking Metal - 92%

PutridWind, October 17th, 2007

First a little background info for newcomers to Falkenbach - Falkenbach was created back in 1989 by Vratyas Vakyas. After releasing numerous limited demos which are as good as impossible to get mp3s of nowadays he decided to release the first full length in 1996. It was released so late after the bands formation since he had been having trouble recording and getting the right sound in the studio where he wished to record the Fireblade, which was released 2005. On this album he also has a few session musicians helping him out with drums and such.

Sound/Production
The album includes guitars drums bass and keys (like almost every other "folk/viking/pagan" band nowadays). The guitars are mixed well and are very distinct, in contrast to the earlier cds. The bass is hard to hear sometimes but is definitely there. Drumwise I have no complaints either, drums usually sound good to me when everything is clearly heard as is the case here. They also sometimes play folk patterns/beats with tambourines and such. The keys are also very audible and mixed very well into the rest of music. They often play strings or folksy instruments like flutes. And finally, the vocals. They are what makes Falkenbach one of the best Viking/Folk bands in todays scene. Both harsh and clean vocals appear, though there are a lot more clean vocals then on the previous albums. The harsh vocals are excellent, they are kinda raspy and growly but they are still possible to make out (as far as what is being said). The clean vocals are also excellent. Many words are held very long and the vocals are very drawn out and somewhat monotonous, but in the best way possible.

Songs
The songs are all in the verse/chorus structure. It should be noted that there are not many riffs/melodies in the songs. Vakyas decides that quality > quantity and I have to wholeheartedly agree with him here. The riffs that do make the songs are all very excellent, some even catchy, and some that make for good sing alongs. The songs are all mid paced, there really is no fast tremelo style guitars on here. Instead they are more like the trudging power chords a la Burzum's "Lost Wisdom" and "Key to the Gate". The keys add epic feelings to the songs in the right places, and are not overused or cheesy. There are also lots of acoustic guitars, and while they are mainly strumming in the back of the mix, they also dominate songs like "Donar's Oak". On "Vanadis" the only harsh vocals (I think) can be found during the second part. I think "Vanadis" is very easy to compare to "When Gjallarhorn will sound" (from the previous cd). It is the opener, contains two sections (one with harsh vocals, one with clean) and is Aaround 9 minutes long. The drums features little double kick, rather there is more cymbol work, but always also a 4/4 feel with snare hits on beats 2 and 4 or 1 and 3 (no syncopation).

Pros
-Excellent vocals
-Memorable melodies
-Won't give you a headache

Cons
-Somewhat repetitive and redundant

Uncreative polished attempt, still good though - 85%

Shadow0fDeath, August 28th, 2004

Falkenbach definately have a great overall sound to their musical style. A sound that is timeless and epic to most ears of true metal purveyors. While their sound is that dexterous, this game of theirs is getting quite old with this being my third Falkenbach. Their sound has a huge variety within it's depths, but there is no evolutionary point at all. The albums are situated with the same viking type sound as you listen to each release.

This album itself features many aspect from the debut album, En their Midh Riki Fara...including the return of the flute much missed in ...Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri..., as well as the love for use in the acoustic guitar. This album includes more majestic and balladic features in the overall viking metal sound. Also drifting farther away from the black metal aspects which flooded En their Midh Riki and which weaved it's way in and out of Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri. These slight adjustments show Falkenbach was still searching for their perfect sound with this release.

The beloved folk aspects that interest the many fans of Falkenbach gleam in the sunset as the beloved vikings are slain in the final battle. We say farewell to them as this album becomes a pure climax in this epic trinity of majestic folkish releases by Falkenbach. A purely timeless masterpiece of a trilogy that shows the evolution of one persons musical ambitions. The overall atmosphere is breathtaking with each release!

Sing praises to the Gods of old - 100%

NightOfTheRealm, May 21st, 2004

A masterpiece! I, for one, am happy to see that Vratyas Vakyas has finally recovered from his automobile accident and has brought another Falkenbach album to light. It has been five years since the last Falkenbach offering, but OK NEFNA TYSVAR TY proves to be well worth the wait (Ok, I confess…I’ve only known about Falkenbach for perhaps two years, tops, but it is still worth the wait. Heh)

Falkenbach is one of the bands, along with mid-period Bathory and early Enslaved, that to me epitomizes everything which Viking metal stands for. The music is as epic as it can get, stimulating every sense of the listener whist evoking images of mist-enshrouded Nordic landscapes, Skalds singing their tales amidst the acrid curling smoke of the fire, robust warriors gathered about the great hall, sweet mead trickling down the throat, and a strong, spiritual feeling of a deep, proud culture. Whereas other bands claiming to play Viking metal, yet only focusing on raging battle music, Vratyas Vakyas, now with a full band behind his project, delivers a more complete picture of the Norse.

On one hand, OK NEFNA TYSVAR TY is a more laid-back album than its two predecessors. The guitars are not as heavy in tone and are softened by an increased use of acoustic guitar in nearly every track on the album. Additionally, gone are most of the growled vocals, which have been replaced with clean vocals that are almost chanted and trance-like. The synths also play a larger role on this album, although Vratyas is a master of the synths, incorporating them not so much into the background as they are so seamlessly woven into the entire song itself that they do not intrude at all.

While I mentioned that OK NEFNA TYSVAR TY is not as heavy in tone, it is a ponderous album in theme, mood and atmosphere. The additional musicians in the band somehow give a much fuller and richer sound to each song. This album is not one of drinking songs, but rather slow, doomy hymns in dark, forboding atmospheres to the Nordic culture. Also, the production on the album is as refined as anyone could want. Every note is recorded and mixed to fully integrate into a composition that is larger than the sum of its parts, yet there is not a single moment on the album that sounds too polished or artificial.

Great epic horns open the album to “Vanadis,” the longest song on the album at nearly nine and a half minutes. While the synths may convey a happy melody here, the appearance of the growled vocals emphasize the warrior’s theme of the song. “As long as Winds Will Blow” features a nice acoustic passage that creeps in and out carrying the main theme of the song that is perfectly balances the clean vocals as they rise and fall. A beautiful piece, and one of my favourites on the album. “Aduatuza” is the heaviest song on the album, falling into more of the “typical” Falkenbach sound. “Donar’s Oak” moves along with a catchy chanted rhythm with the strongest Viking feeling. The duet of acoustic and electric guitars that kicks in around 3:07 is the single best juxtaposition of the folk and metal sound on the entire album which is further accentuated by the flute that carries throughout the song. This one is certainly my favourite on the entire album. The last half of the disc is just as good, if not better than the first half. There is a rerecording of “The Ardent Awaited Land” from the first Falkenbach album, as well as the excellent “Homeward Shore.” Closing out the album is the final epic, “Farewell,” the second song on the album to clock in at over 8 minutes in length. As much as I loved Bathory’s NORDLAND albums, I must admit that Mr. Vakyas has displaced Mr. Quorthon as the current king of Viking metal.

While some listeners may find OK NEFNA TYSVAR TY to be an unconventional album, Falkenbach earns full points for a fine tapestry of the Nordic sound. The album’s sound is much fuller than its predecessor’s, and each song is absolutely enthralling.

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, January, 2004)

...And Call Tyr Twice - 100%

chaossphere, April 21st, 2004

While Falkenbach's first two albums - the more blackened approach of the debut In Their Med Riki Fara and the subsequent shift to a pure viking/folk sound on Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri - were both quite excellent works in their own right, nothing on those discs was quite enough to prepare me for the genius that surfaced on album number three. Rumours of mastermind
Vratyas Vakyas being badly injured in a car accident were among the reasons offered for the five year silence which preceded this album - but whatever the case, Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty has distilled the purest essence of Nordic pride and the heathen spirit into 40 minutes of the most brilliant music i've ever heard. This has easily been my most frequently-spun CD since I got it in late January, and it's only now that I can listen to it objectively enough
to put it's genius into words.

This disc kicks off with a soaring nine-minute epic, "Vanadis". Amalgamating pounding drums (real this time, as opposed to the programmed sterility of the drums on the older material), soaring choral chants and subtle, restrained guitar work into an amazing whole, the song literally sounds like a battle-march of crushing proportions. Of course, rather than frontloading the album with the best song, this disc truly hits it's peak on the next few tracks. "...As Long As Winds Will Blow..." contains some of the most beautiful acoustic guitar playing I have ever heard on a metal album, while the vocals soar to previously unimagined heights. I'm guessing VV took some singing lessons in the last five years, because his vocal performance here completely annihilates his somewhat flat, timid singing on the previous album.
In fact, most vocals here are of the clean sung variety, with the second verse in "Vanadis" being the only standout section utilizing a harsh rasping approach. "Donar's Oak", meanwhile, contains a stunningly brilliant chorus (with lyrics in Icelandic, recited from the Viking tome Griminsmal) and more killer acoustic work. That's followed by "...The Ardent Awaited Land"
which is something of a sequel to the song "Into The Ardent Awaited Lands" from the debut. This one, though, is a mellow folk-ballad with subtle percussive drive behind acoustic strumming and restrained vocal murmurs. Then the album picks up again, with "Homeward Shore" returning to majestic bombast, before another 9-minute crescendo appears in the form of "Farewell", and thus the story is told.

There is really no way to describe the greatness of Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty in words. As someone once said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture - well, I usually do a decent job of shaking my booty in a certain way to express an opinion, but reviewing this album is like using a shaky, basic line-dance move to describe the Pyramids of Egypt. All I can really
do is unconditionally recommend that everyone see them with their own eyes, rather than take my half-baked running around at face value.

Decent, but nothing special... - 75%

mutiilator, January 22nd, 2004

After the release of two incredible full-lengths (especially “Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri”), it seems as though Vratyas is choosing a different path. The new album seems to be more oriented to the Viking aspect of his music, and less towards the Black Metal aspect. “Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty” is a lot less aggressive than the 2 preceding releases, and features a lot more melody. For most bands this would be okay, but it simply doesn’t feel like a Falkenbach album. A lot more chanting and clean vocals are present, and a lot of the harsher singing and pounding war-like drums is just a memory. The new session members don’t seem to make a huge difference, and Vratyas did an even better job by himself for 2 demos and 2 full-lengths. In the end, this is a decent album, but does not come close to the bar Vratyas set for himself with his first 2 releases. If you’re looking for a place to start with Falkenbach, check out “Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri” first, then “En Their Medh Riki Fara...”, and then this one.

Heathen!!! - 100%

ChildOfTheTwilight, December 16th, 2003

Great! Really great! The first time I listened to it i was a bit amazed, I've been expecting a more blackish sound like on the first 2 albums, but after a few listening I realized the majesty of this one...
It's very very epic, it takes you to northern lands through the mix of flutes, war screams, battle horns, particular melodies and paganism..
The help of session musicians from Vindsval makes the sound "warmer" than before, in sense of pathos... I love "...En Their Medh Riki Fara..." and "...Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri..." but this one is somehow different, more clean vocals and fewer black voices, choirs and acoustic guitars that show the compositive genius of Vratyas Vakyas and his good taste for arrangements.
From the beginning, the intro of Vanadis, you hear the battle horn and sumptuous keyboards, and you feel rising to a majestic atmosphere... flutes then support the riffing and clean and triumphant vocals... It's very suggestive, the drum patterns are always essential with wonderful breaks, every beat at the right place, nothing excessive... The ingredients are the same wor the whole album, it's great to listen to it while travelling somewhere, or laid in bed relaxed and ready to taste every note...
The cover of the booklet represents very well the places where you are suggested to be, with the man on the shore with a fire burning, and black clouds filtering the light of the sun... Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty is pagan pride at its highest level, throughout 7 magnificent tracks with great production...
The hall of bronzen shields awaits Falkenbach to glorify them...