without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I have always loved German bands. There has to be some inherent nationalistic spirit in the Germans (in a good way) that always compels them to infuse the folk instruments of their homeland into their harsh Metal music, fusing medieval melodies with modern technicality. December last year saw the arrival of German band Eisregen's first compilation album "Krebskollektion". In a stroke of brilliant defiance, the band decided to include in CD1 of the compilation songs from their banned albums (1998-2004).
Now, I don’t understand German, so I will never know exactly why those songs warranted banning. Listening to the album blindly, or rather, deafly, brought forth only satisfaction and intrigue, not fear. Perhaps it is a testament to the band’s musicality, or perhaps it shows that the “blackness” of Eisregen is not really all that dark. The first track began hypnotically, with a blaring siren used as the backbone of the song’s entire melody. Eisregen goes on to prove throughout the album that they are a creative bunch, not just in a musical sense, but in the way that they are able to manipulate sounds to create atmospheres and illustrations.
For me, Michael “Blutkehle” Roth’s vocals are killer. His voice accompanied by the tinkling melody behind most of the songs had a strange catchiness about it reminiscent of O2 Jam and yes, I played O2 Jam. I’m Asian. But sounding like O2 Jam is not a bad thing (in my book). For Eisregen, it just goes to show how bizarre and interesting they are as a band. It was a surprise, yes, but it didn’t throw me off. It only attracted me. Elaborating further on Roth’s vocals: they act like a separate instrument, something I see only in Lamb of God or bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, where the vocals seem to be running with the other instruments instead of against them, creating sounds that contribute to rhythm, melody, atmosphere, tonality, and emotion. However for Eisregen, they seem to have gone the extra mile with “Scharlachrotes Kleid”, working in an almost “a capella” setting, with the essence of Roth’s talent and emotions pouring out into a basin of atmospheric background music. By the time the guitars came in, the crunching thickness of it complemented the vocals perfectly.
The guitar tone is great with varying levels of thickness versus sharpness – an important musical trait that most black metal bands seem to neglect. The melodies and overall technicality are quite basic, but the musicality is exceptional and really creative. Overall, Eisregen has proven to be one of the better bands (creativity-wise) that I have ever encountered. black metallers do have an affinity for experimenting but it is the fact that Eisregen got “national” that really set them apart. There is a pride almost; in the way they showcase their folk influence that makes me as a listener, wonder why bands throughout the world don’t incorporate more traditional influences into their songs every now and then. Such a risk only goes to show the beautiful contrast that can arise when a band is creative enough and dedicated enough to bring the two elements together.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com