Tusmørke – Den Internasjonale Bronsealderen

Tusmørke - Den Internasjonale Bronsealderen

Tusmørke - Den Internasjonale BronsealderenThough it may be known better for its metal exports, Scandinavia has been a fertile ground for progressive rock. As the rest of the progressive world began to slumber with the onset of the ’90s, the Nordic countries began to enjoy a golden age of progressive rock. Nowadays, Sweden’s Anglagard and Anekdoten, Finland’s Höyry-Kone and Norway’s Wobbler and White Willow have each produced albums that might beckon the ‘classic’ label. With this in mind, it was little surprise to hear such vibrant progressive rock in the form of Tusmørke last year and their debut, “Underjordisk Tusmørke”. Though the album’s vintage sound could have otherwise blended with a hundred other like-sounding acts, Tusmørke injected the tried-and-true ‘classic prog’ formula with a dark atmosphere and penchant for the macabre more often heard on horror film soundtracks. It was this fusion of the fresh and familiar that left such an impression on me. Less than a year since the day I first laid ears on their debut, the band have summoned new material, this time in the form of a two-track ‘maxi single’. “Der Internasionale Bronsealderen” represents a healthy advance deeper into the realms of the otherworldly and occult, but this bite-sized chunk of Tusmørke’s music lacks the sense of completion that would have recreated the wonder of their debut.

Upon first hearing Tusmørke’s debut, I remember interpreting their sound as a surreal take on the Jethro Tull school of progressive folk rock. Vintage hard rock timbres are mixed into a witch’s cauldron with swirling flutes and psychedelic arrangements. Though not novel ingredients to the progressive rock stew by any stretch of the imagination, I have heard few contemporary bands that manage to make the classic style sound work so well in their favour. Not only were the compositions on “Underjordisk Tusmørke” excellently written, but the band’s execution and performance standard spared no expense. The production enjoyed a rich, organic quality to it, and all of the instruments sounded as if Tusmørke had travelled back in time to rescue them from the classic era. Possibly above anything else however, it was Tusmørke’s somewhat creepy and surreal atmosphere that really sold me into their sound. It’s that atmosphere that “Der Internasionale Bronsealderen” capitalizes on. Described as a tribute to the Bronze Age, Tusmørke have shifted their focus from alchemy and psychedelic storytelling to the occult reverence of Egyptian deities and mythological tropes. Though their Nordic folk rock palette remains the same, this teleportation to another place and time results in a more exotic atmosphere than on Tusmørke’s first time around. “En Verden Av I Gaar” kicks off the EP with a thick Middle- Eastern atmosphere, casually mixed into the European timbres. Dark and foreboding, “En Verden Av I Gaar” takes Tusmørke ever closer to recreating the atmosphere of an ancient pagan ritual through prog rock. “Kairo” represents a lighter, more traditional side of Tusmørke’s music, a dainty piece that spares no opportunity to throw in an extra dose of flute or mellotron. Though “En Verden Av I Gaar”s fairly unsettling atmosphere may turn off some listeners, “Kairo” should make for a more enticing and accessible experience.

Above all else, Tusmørke once again succeed on a performance level. It’s by now rather cliché (not to mention something of a mixed compliment) to say that a piece of contemporary music truly sounds like it could have been from another period, but it’s definitely the case here. Everything down to the rich production gives the impression of ‘vintage’. Though Tusmørke would have undoubtedly given a greater impression with a stronger sense of innovation, there’s rarely the feeling on “Der Internasionale Bronsealderen” that the band is being too derivative with it. It’s most certainly a tribute to the past (in more ways than one), but Tusmørke enjoy a sense of present-day relevance in making this style more music more darkly atmospheric and severe. Tusmørke managed to achieve all of this and more with the debut, however.

“Der Internasionale Bronsealderen” maintains a sturdy par with “Underjordisk Tusmørke” in every way except one. While the composition benefit from Tusmørke’s excellent, nostalgic arrangements and musicianship, the songwriting lacks the urgency of the debut. In spite of (or perhaps as a result of) the two tracks’ ten minute length, I do not get the impression that either composition expresses anything of a truly grand nature. As bright and intelligent as the arrangements are, the melodies are rarely memorable, and the song structures seem to be nearly-rhapsodic, never reaching that ‘full circle’ satisfaction that most longer pieces require to succeed. “En Verden Av I Gaar” evokes a convincing atmosphere and feeling of dread, but “Kairo” leaves a surprisingly weak impression on me. Considering the excellent musicianship and impressive dedication to a specific style, Tusmørke don’t impress me as much here as they did with the debut. Thought “Der Internasionale Bronsealderen” could make for something of a disappointment depending on a listener’s preconceived notions, their unique charm and impressive musical chops have me feeling very optimistic for this band’s future.


1. En Verden Av I Gaar
2. Kairo


* Benediktator – bass and vocals
* Krizla – flute and vocals
* HlewagastiR – drums
* Deadly Nightshade – keyboards

Written by Conor Fynes

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