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Thursaflokkurinn - Hinn ═slenzki Ůursaflokkur CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.72 | 27 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

"Bunch of trolls" is the name of this band, active from the late 70's into the mid-80's, and reuniting now and then when the decades unfold. Their debut's title (The Icelandic bunch of trolls) was actually their real name, but it was shortened as soon as the second album was recorded. Most of us know from Iceland the diminutive Bjork and her extraordinary musical landscapes (and heard the glacial Sigur Ros), but let me tell you that Thursaflokkurin does just as brilliantly strange as well. This first album was recorded in late 78 and received a dumb awkward and not-engaging Sandwich-man artwork, but musically it's quite different from almost anything you've heard.

Indeed Thursaflokkurin can sound medieval ala Gryphon or more like early Univers Zero (that bassoon inevitably brings to it), while at other times Samla Mammas Mannas is another evident influences, especially when going folk and even Kebnekaise becomes obvious), but we haven't yet gone close to the liturgical leanings of certain tracks, the whole thing remaining mainly acoustic and based on old folk songs of their island.

Starting on Einsetumaour, a mainly vocal and wind instrument track that sounds like Thys Van Leer (Focus) with Michel Berckmans (UZ), the tracks sometimes speeds up, but the solemn mood remains. After the instrumental Solnes and its all-too obvious Focus influences, Stooum Tvo I Tuni enters UZ and via Gryphon, even GG realm. An excellent track that mixes the pre-classical elements with the typical Scandinavian melancholy, one that was sooo well put forth in the early 90's in the Swedish trilogy. Hringana is rounding up side 1 and offers more of the previous track's ambiance and sadly adds nothing more.

The flipside opens on the much rockier (almost pop) Muttimin, although the middle dissonant section tells you not to take this number too lightly. It certainly digresses from the rest of the album, but nothing shocking either. The instrumental Bunadarbalkur is again eying in the early SMM discography with the strange vocals and the closing part on the bassoon is simply amazing. After a short and goofy Vera Matt Godur, the album simply HAD to finish up brightly and it sure was the case. Starting on winds and Gregorian chants, Grafskript (Epitath) is a slow-developing intro piece for the outstanding, grandiose and chilling closer, shortly peaking, before dying its own glorious and solemn death, like a funeral march should. Too bad it's so short with its almost 7 minutes.

Although there are many elements of pre-classical music and the songs are rooted in Scandinavian folklore, it's not that easy to classify this album as progressive folk, but one thing is for sure, this album is a killer and certainly in the all-time top 5 of the island, even including the little Bjork career, not eve counting Sigur Ros. Don't just sand there, hop on the web and track it down, before others pass by and make it OOP.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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