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Inspiring neofolk evoking pure magic - 100%

kluseba, March 1st, 2020
Written based on this version: 2015, CD + DVD, Sleaszy Rider Records (Slipcase)

Thurisaz is a Belgian quintet mixing black, death and doom metal in a very atmospheric way. This intimate concert here however is quite laid-back and focuses on acoustic elements over electric guitar play that is still present in a few moments however. The band invited an additional female vocalist with Els Blieck whose enchanting, ethereal and soothing vocals give the song material an appeasing, dreamy and otherworldly component. Two violin players and a cellist complete the line-up and give the songs inspirations varying from classical music to folk tales.

Four tracks on the album are instrumentals except for some occasional smooth background chants that are scarcely but very appropriately used. These songs like the melancholic opener ''Symbols'' and the playful epic ''Broken'' aren't fillers but contribute to the record's magical atmosphere with melancholic guitar tones, fragile percussive elements and dreamy keyboard sounds. They manage to touch your brain, heart and soul in most peaceful ways.

The concert also features three excellent cover songs by Woods of Ypres, Anathema and Amorphis which show Thurisaz's multiple influences. Woods of Ypres' ''Finality'' convinces with low and melancholic lead vocals and more expressive backing vocals accompanied by diversified keyboard sounds and soothing violin sounds. Anathema's ''A Natural Disaster'' is elegiac but inspiring and slowly increases intensity over six and a half most inspiring minutes. The combination between smooth male vocals and enchanting female vocals is particularly excellent while acoustic guitars give the song a mellow country-folk touch contrasted by the classical and symphonic elements pushed forward by bittersweet melancholic cello and violin sounds. Amorphis' ''My Kantele'' shines in its combination of folk instrumentation, classical components and smooth vocals that equal the magic of the original's stunning acoustic version. It's no easy task to equal the brilliance of the diversified Finnish masterminds but Thurisaz delivers the goods in a jaw-dropping manner. Thurisaz make these cover songs sound like their own and they perfectly complement the other tracks.

''Never to Return'' is an exclusive song to this release even though the band Modilium that preceded Thurisaz had a demo of that title back in the late nineties. The song is carried by warm acoustic guitar sounds, heartfelt string sections, playful piano sounds and smooth male and female vocals that fluently change from backing to lead vocals and back again throughout the track. This track blends in perfectly with the cover songs, instrumental tunes and rearranged regular tracks.

Thurisaz's Live & Acoustic offers twelve masterpieces with a running time of fifty-six minutes performed in front of an intimate crowd. This album should please most to fans of appeasing neofolk soundscapes. The atmosphere of the material is appeasing, dreamy and inspiring. It's simply one of the most beautiful things I have heard in quite a while. No matter if you like classical, country, folk, metal or rock music, you should give this profound live record a chance to inspire you.