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Before starting let me first introduce this morbid crew from Germany. Eisregen, here in this country they are one of the most well known acts of extreme German metal. They started out back in 95', releasing some very rare demo tapes and three years later their first LP came out, entitled "Zerfall" (meaning decay).
Characteristically, this band's trademarks were always the severe manner in which they presented themselves and their music. Basically the formula was always kept, but they have somehow managed to evolve with each album, creating an even more brutal atmosphere. With "Farbenfinsternis" (color obscurity) they have reached the peak of their gory concept. "Krebskolonie", "Farbenfinsternis" and "Wundwasser" are on the index in Germany, meaning they are not allowed to play any of the songs on the respective albums.
People on festivals or shows sometimes denounce the aspects of the German language, comparing the vocals of German metal vocalists (or in this particular case M.Roth) to a burlesque image of Hitler, propagating their silly motives as the music accompanies the caricature throughout the album. I disagree.
(At this point I will abbreviate the albums with their respective alliterations.)
KK was one of the most amazing brutally executed albums I have ever heard, but that is material for another review. We are here to talk about the music on FF. The 7 string guitars they use create a unique atmosphere. We have heavy distorted parts, aswell as short clean pieces who rather function intruductorily. Another great thing we have here is the usage of violins, but in a very gloomy way; it's not the typical folk influenced metal with the nice sounding violins, this is more depressive. It gives you the feeling as if you were either on a graveyard, a shattered old house or simply in the dark. You pick whatever you want, the result is the same. Very melancholic and classy. The drums may not be the incledible super-blast like on other genre comrades, but still it's pretty decent and though sometimes sloppy, they fit very well with the music. The drumming is usually slow paced with a slightly polka influenced rhythm. Another interesting part is that they sometimes introduce merry sounding melodies into their music, which are misleading, as the morbid lyrics always make up for that matter (such as the track 13, that has a happy tone to it, describing how the protagonist of the song brutally killed his thirteenth lover) But now to come to the more interesting part of Eisregen's whole concept: the vocals and the lyrics.
I have to admit, it was a bit of a challenge to get used to M.Roth's unique style of "singing", but so were "Dornenreich" or King Diamond for that matter. The same persons who call this guy a "cartoonish Hitler" may call King Diamond an eunuch (who actually has more balls then they have altogether). The vocals are preformed in a high pitched throat rasp with some clean vocals here and there (ex. on track 01). Sounds a bit on the thrashy side at times and a bit on the black/death side at others. But the most severe aspect of the music are truly the lyrics, as the vocalist is very talented in describing brutal concepts. Be it butchering prostitutes after sexual intercourse and keeping their bodies for further enjoyment in secret apartments, setting his fatherland ablaze or savoring the fresh blood of victims, Eisregen have it all in their répertoire. No perverted lust remains unrelished as they push their listeners forward into their sick minds and music.
The album has a small "Zyklus" (meaning cycle), beginning with track 06 "Vorboten", about a person living his normal life, until one day his life changes. The protagonist isolates himself, obtaining paranoia and ultimately succumbing to a higher entity for the sole purpose of eliminating the living. Of course, this can be viewed as a horror film translated into music. With M.Roth, being a great horror/gore film fan, this does not surprise one. But the change of low and high pitched vocals really does the job, since you can really "feel" how the change of sentiment and state of mind occurs at certain points on this "cycle".
The album ends with a track finishing the year which sums up all catastrophes that occured the previous year. Train crashes, airplane accidents, terrorist and gang shootings, etc... The bonus edition even has a cover of the death metal masters "Death" which is pretty cool too.
I recommend this album to everybody liking extreme metal and who does understand a bit of German, since it's kind of important to fully savor the music OR to open minded people looking for something a little bit different.
German never gets mentioned as a language of love. If anything, it's the language of those manifestations of love that take place between several persons of various sexes, one of whom is named Inga, on a very physical level in front of the cameras. Yes, German is perhaps the choppiest one of the old western civilized languages. The caricature of the average German-speaking person in the minds of many people approaches and melds with a guy with a funny moustache, shouting his "racial slurs" with spittle flying and angry consonants resonating through a PA system created by the best engineers Germany had in 1930's. It's not entirely the Germans' own fault, but their language certainly isn't the cuddliest there is. In the ears of many, there is an underlying aggressive character in German, and the history of the 20th century has unfortunately reinforced the idea in peoples' collective minds.
There are ways to work with what you have. The Inuits survivied in Greenland for centuries by building everything they needed from the leftovers of their food and snow, the only two things they had. All it takes is humility and a reasonable rational approach, and the situation will dictate the best way to do something. It's quite possible to make German sound like metal should, all it takes is a bit of self-control.
Eisregen lacks either that self-control needed, or the sense of style needed before the self-control is supposed to kick in. Farbenfinisternis is a completely goofy album, and the language they decided to use is just a minor detail in the whole bleak picture. The way they used it, however, is a big detail.
The classification "dark metal" does not really fit Eisregen, at least not on this album. Their basic sound lingers somewhere in between mildly industrial black-ish metal and very bad unfolky "folk" metal á la In Extremo, but at the same time, the very same sound is quite powerless. The attempted wickedness, evidenced by the reported indexing (banning?) of their albums in their own country, is mostly of Marilyn Manson-esque, artificial, plastic kind, and doesn't impress. The indexing sounds like a publicity stunt more than a real thing actually, the band is pure evil in the same way a really, really scary french punk rocker might be, if Jacques Tati still made movies and chose to have one hanging around on a subway station in one of his feature films.
The music is pure rubbish. Its general production and the distantly folky parts are on the aforementioned In Extremo level of credibility, sharing even the vocal style. Sometimes, someone plays a cello or a viola made either of good-quality cardboard or B-grade plywood, lacking character and spirit. But the main "instrument" here, on top of everything else, are the vocals, and by the unhallowed scrotum of a commercial donkey, they suck! The carrrtoonisSSCChhh GerrrrrrrMMMann ScCHhortTh offff GRRRRRROwwwLLLlllSch. The stretched, jagged consonants, aggressively cubical words and the excessive S-related sounds are all overdone, and the best way to describe the vocal style would be Rammstein to the second power, or possibly, "Hitler meets Finntroll". Plain ugly, in other words. The target has obviously been "evil", but the sights have been set on "plain bad", and the band scores a bull's eye in their mistaken shot.
Yeah, this is a bad album. Point fingers and laugh at anyone with any Eisregen band merchandise on them. They deserve it, if Farbenfinisternis is anything to judge by.