IKU-TURSO: Into Dawnless Realms
Release year: 2022
Label: Wolfspell Records/Korpituli Productions
Finnish-Dutch Iku-Turso are at it again: Into Dawnless Realms is the successor to 2020’s Pakana (reviewed here), and it sees the band continue on the same path as before. So, in other words, erase the last 20-odd years of black metal evolution and grab invisible oranges like it’s 1996.
Verily, when it comes to black metal, there are many people who consider the 90’s to be the absolute apex of the genre. And Hell, it’s easy to see why – just look at the long list of classic acts who started out then and released groundbreaking, genre-defining albums. Black metal as a genre has gone from strength to strength since then, but as can be ascertained from the sound of many a great band, the 90’s still cast a long and lingering shadow over it.
Iku-Turso’s style is quite melodic, but still retains a certain rawness to it. And yes, indeed, thoughts do fly towards Norway – and they fly there fast. I’d describe Iku-Turso’s sound as being somewhat vaguely Norse in the sense that obviously a major part of their foundation is inspired by classic norsecore, but they don’t sound too much like any one specific act.
There are bits here and there which remind me more or less strongly of this or that band, but as a whole, Iku-Turso’s strength remains in succesfully evoking nostalgia without being pure pastiche. Sure, you can spot a bit of Emperor here, and why not Stormblåst era Dimmu Borgir or – well, you catch my drift – but not to the point where Iku-Turso would rub it in your face. Valor does, however, sound a lot like early album period Enslaved to my ears!
Qualitywise, the band have retained their level. Iku-Turso are sticking to their guns and to their formula, for good and for bad: solid albeit thoroughly unoriginal “throwback” black metal. These guys are competent – nay, good – at what they do, but on the other hand it does feel a bit like picking low-hanging fruit by pandering to the nostalgia of middle-aged black metallers. By which I mean people like me.
Treading well-trod paths, Iku-Turso bring absolutely nothing new to the table. However, they do a very good job in recreating ye olde sounde without sounding like rip-offs. So depending on how you look at things, Iku-Turso may be just what you are thirsting for… or a waste of time.