After listening just once to the new album by Belguim's Thurisaz, "The Pulse of Mourning," one thing was painfully clear to me. I should have been listening to Thurisaz long before this! The band's approach to metal is one that I love. They take elements of black metal, prog metal, melodic metal and add in the mood and atmosphere of post metal to create a dynamic sound that might be influenced by bands like Enslaved or Opeth but ultimately sound like themselves and no one else.
"The Pulse of Mourning" starts off with a two part opener each of which give the listener an idea of the major pieces of the Thurisaz sound. "Longing..." is tranquil yet menancing and dark and it leads directly to the metallic blast of "...for a Change" which wakes you from any dream state you might have been in. From there, the band serve up one of the best tracks from the album, "Patterns of Life." The song features blast beats, death growls, clean vocals, great guitar riffs but also massive orchestral sounds and amazing moody keyboards. The use of a plucking string sound toward the end of the track over top of heavy riffs just puts the icing on the cake for this great track.
Similarly, "Rays of Light" has the same sort of dichotomy that the band do so well. It has one of the best riffs ever plus an incredibly melodic chorus PLUS those keyboards of Kobe Canniere which add that dramatic tension. Mood, atmosphere and melody against aggression and tension: the band's winning formula! "Tangram" shows the band's creative, melocholic side. It's a beautiful instrumental which serves as an oasis of isolation of sorts. "One Final Step" has some quite relentless riffing and a melodic chorus with some very cinematic keys that make the song so massive. Another amazing track. It builds and builds over the course of the song and really makes for an excellent centerpiece for "The Pulse of Mourning." And let's give credit to the guitar work of the Theuwens, Peter and Mattias. Not only do they add the grunts and screams but they have the riffs that are all over this album.
"Enslaved Dreams" is another wonderfully etherial instrumental, this one with some excellent acoustic guitar work. The title is clever since Enslaved has a song on their album "In Times" called "Thurisaz Dreaming." I love it! "In All Remembrance" is about as epic as it gets. Massive sound, snarling vocals that transend to peaceful keyboards and a beautifully sung melody before the song takes off once again. The guitar solo on "In All Remembrance" is so amazing too: a highlight on the entire album! "Stargaze" closes the album out in style, a ballad with strings, piano and a stellar vocal performance.
Where has Thurisaz been all my life! Where have I been? I don't give out perfect scores very much, only when it is absolutely warranted. "The Pulse of Mourning" has EARNED a perfect rating. I cannot say nearly enough how much I love this album and now Thurisaz has moved onto the list of my favorite bands with this release.