‘Irij’ is a Slavic word for ‘paradise’. It’s the place birds go to in winter and souls enter upon death. It’s also the title adoped by former Eluveitie vocalist and violinist, Meri Tadic. Culture Cura is her second solo offering and represents her on-going evolution from folk metal icon into electro folk goddess. It draws deeply on Irij’s Croatian roots.
Tracks like Carolija and Saljiva are underpinned by Irij’s gypsy-style violin work and characteristic mittel-europa vocal mannerisms. Irij’s dark folk past is represented by Anna Murphy’s hurdy-gurdy work and Coroner’s Tommy Vetterli is also on hand to spray the occasional heavy riff on Universe Of No Remorse. Yet, ultimately, this is an album that wants to fuse folk with electronica.
When it works Culture Cura is a taste of paradise: The Storm and the impressive opener Young Wild Men (which features a relentlessly troubling banjo riff from Moonsorrow’s Henri Sorvali) cleverly combine old-school menace with beeping programming. Yet if it’s strongest when at its darkest, Culture Cura deserves a little trimming. This is Irij working out the sonic possibilities of her work and – as on a track like Cur – not quite getting there. However, listen and admire Irij’s boldness and vision.