He calls himself “the searching wanderer”, Vratyas Vakyas, and a certain amount of searching and wandering apparently had to be done by me before I discovered his and his company's new album. FALKENBACH sixth album, ‘Asa’, was mixed by Patrick Damiani and mastered by Robin Schmidt, its cover provided by German-American painter Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902) and features, alongside its mastermind multi-instrumentalist and singer Vratyas Vakyas, violinist Nikos Mavridis, guitarist Hagalaz, drummer Bolthorn and additional vocals by Tyrann (all LE GRAND GUIGNOL). ‘Asa’ (I will venture to assume the album's name refers to Norse paganism and not to Asa, god of the Kamba ethnic group in Kenya) is out on Prophecy Productions since November the 1st, 2013 and is being distributed in North America since November the 5th as CD, as gatefold LP (with slightly different cover artwork, poster and PVC protection sleeve), as picture LP, and as hardcover book with double CD (with a bonus CD containing four additional tracks, translations of the lyrics and previously unreleased text fragments of Vratyas Vakyas) – all available here (Prophecy shop). You can also search for it on iTunes or Amazon. Enjoy the full album here (Prophecy YouTube channel) or below.
FLAKENBACH, a one-man black metal project of multi-instrumentalist Vratyas Vakyas based in Düsseldorf, Germany, reportedly claims Icelandic roots. Active since 1989, FALKENBACH recorded six demos during first years of its existence, before ‘...En Their Medh Riki Fara...’ (“and in glory will they go”), Vratyas Vrakyas debut full-length of glorious Viking metal, saw the light of a day in 1996. ‘Magni Blandinn ok Megintiri...’ (“mixed with strength and pride glory”) came next in 1998, before the searching wanderer Markus Tümmers took a five year break. He returned in 2003, reinforced by Haglaz, Bolthorn and Tyrann, when ‘Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty’ (“and call Tyr twice”, apparently) was issued through Napalm Records, followed by FLAKENBACH's fourth album, ‘Heralding – The Fireblade’, a collection of re-recorded tracks, originally intended to be the project's debut album (in 1995). ‘Tiurida’ (“glory”), FLAKENBACH last record released through Napalm Records before switching over to their current label’ came out in 2011. Phil Freeman, AllMusic, found the songs on the album “somewhat harmonically and structurally static”. “They start out doing one thing, and they keep doing it for seven minutes at a stretch, with no solos or other adornments to provide catharsis or crescendo,” he wrote and came to a conclusion that “this music won’t do much for metalheads who prefer their metal aggressive and/or crushingly heavy, rather than ritualistic and midtempo”. (More here). Luckily for the band, metalheads have since evolved. FLAKENBACH next recorded the single ‘Eweroun’ and released it through Prophecy Productions in April 2013 to much acclaim.
FLAKENBACH features: Vratyas Vakyas – all instruments and vocals, Bolthorn – drums, Hagalaz – guitar and Tyrann – vocals