The Vikings' True Voice
CoC talks to Falkenbach
by: Adam Wasylyk
A blend of black metal and Viking rock, Falkenbach play the sort of music that breathes life into a genre polluted with wannabes and copycats. Mesmerizing keyboards, black metal snarls, driving guitars and rock beats, while Vikings serve as the imagery and ideologies behind it all. Having recorded their debut _... En Their Medh Riki Fara..._ for No Colours, the band signed to Napalm Records in Austria and released _... Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri..._, one of the better records of 1997, with hopefully many more albums to come.

Sole creator and musician Vratyas Vakyas wrote back to my queries on his band and what he's up to presently.

"The whole thing began in '89, I think, when I decided to record my first songs and lyrics" began Vakyas on how Falkenbach got started and whether the Viking imagery was the initial inspiration. "Back then, I searched for a new kind of sacrifice for the Goddesses & Gods besides blood, life, etc. I also wanted to give something direct from my heart and soul, a donation made of art, emotion and yearning. So you could say not the Viking period itself inspired me, but the Goddesses & Gods who ruled that age on Midgaard, and who will rule forever!"

Getting into detail about Falkenbach's prior releases, Vakyas said "All in all, I've done seven tapes so far, all in a strictly limited edition, furthermore a tape called _Promo '95_ and the debut CD _... En Their Medh Riki Fara..._. The earlier stuff is mainly folkloristic music with percussion, acoustic guitar and clean vocals, but during the years also drums, distorted guitars and keyboards became more and more important. Every recording differs a bit from its predecessors due to the fact that more instruments were added to the songs, and my musical skills grew a bit, too."

As to what happened with No Colours and his leap to Napalm Records, Vakyas explained "No Colours did a good job for Falkenbach, but this step simply had to be done, as I don't want any stagnation with Falkenbach ever! Napalm offered a deal about one year after the debut album was released and after some changes in the offered contract I signed to Napalm." Vakyas also went on to explain his role in Falkenbach, which could be called a one-man project but it wasn't necessarily designed to be that. "Since the very first days, I'm the only musician involved in Falkenbach, and not even session musicians were used for the recordings. Maybe this will change for the third CD, as I'm looking for a session drummer and flutist, too. By the way, it's not that I don't want any people to be involved, but as a matter of fact it's quite hard to find musicians who're both skilled in playing their instruments and good characters, who fit 100% into the concept of Falkenbach. Trust me, it's hard to find worthy people!"

On my first few listens to _... Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri..._ I made the comparison to some of Bathory's Viking-era material along with his last (and brilliant) effort _Blood on Ice_. I thought the feelings captured by both _Blood on Ice_ and _... Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri..._ had some parallels, both dealing with Viking themes at a rock beat pace. As to whether there are any similarities to Bathory or if he's taken them as an influence, Vakyas states "In my opinion, there are not too many similarities between Bathory and Falkenbach, not music nor lyric wise. I used to play this kind of music from the very beginning, so I can't say any bands or musicians influenced Falkenbach anyway. The only band I know playing a bit similar music [to us] is Vargas."

I also ask what the lyrics deal with, despite the overwhelming chance that it has something to do with Vikings. "Most of the lyrics are about Asatru, the religion of Germanic and north-European tribes, and Vartan, a mixture between science, art and philosophy, which is based on Asatru. Viking themes are the way to describe them, as the lyrics of Falkenbach are usually written with metaphors. Every character, every symbol used has a deeper meaning, so mental power is needed to understand those lyrics and the message they convey, but superficially will only lead to misunderstandings."

After asking about newly written material, Vakyas affirms "At the moment around 20 minutes of new material does exist, but it's not recorded yet. None should expect any "stylebreak", but, as always, the new songs are one step further in the right direction. I can say the new material contains clean vocals, flutes, powerful guitars and drums, acoustic guitars, ancient percussion, etc., but most of the arrangements are much improved! I can promise this new release will be far better than both of its predecessors! It's a fact that my main intention isn't to be successful, or to be popular, but to be relevant!"

What does Vakyas see black metal evolving into in the upcoming years and into the next century? "Countless new bands, and 99% worthless crap will enter the market. We'll have to wait and see who's still left after the next five or six years, then we can say who's true and who's not."

(article submitted 1/9/1998)


CHATS
4/19/2011 J Carbon Falkenbach: ...Where His Ravens Fly...
ALBUMS
2/6/2011 J Carbon 7.5 Falkenbach - Tiurida
5/27/2004 Q Kalis 8 Falkenbach - Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty
4/9/1997 D Schinzel 7 Falkenbach - En their medh riki fara
2/5/1997 D Schinzel 8 Falkenbach - ...magni blandinn ok megintiri...
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