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Dragged Behind a Tank - 78%

ghastlylugosi, March 1st, 2009

As time goes on, I may up my score of this album, but on the other hand I may lower it. I am only familiar with "Dominanz", and can tell you that there is quite a vast chasm betwixt these 2 albums. "Dominanz" was full of guitar riffs and a very basic form of early Gorgoroth-worship, which ain't all that bad. However, it did not stand out as unique, although it was a fantastically brutal album and very satisfying. In the end, however, it could have been a Pest-era straightforward Gorgoroth material clone (without any of the dorky experimental junk that Gorgoroth began to employ with more frequency).

"Reich", however, is a very different animal, though the ever-present comparison to Gorgoroth can be used again, just not to such a precise mould. We can compare this one more to "Twilight of the Idols" (again, without the pretention of the tedious experimental parts Gorgoroth insisted on breaking up that album with). "Reich" is droningly, scrapingly bleak soundscapes of violence and hopelessness. I will use the same word used by other reviewers, 'relentless'. The listener will not be able to name which song they are listening to (with a few obvious exceptions when the "sing along chorus" HA HA HA! appears in some songs...just kidding), but they will not mistake Endstille for Gorgoroth on this one. The previous guitar "riffs" have been replaced by extremely odd guitar "tones". Upon first listen, I did not really like the album at all because of this. With repeated listens, I grew to appreciate the unique (to me) approach Endstille has taken. There is not much on here in the way of variety of compostion, all songs rumble along fuelled by the drums and vocal phrasings, whereas the guitars take a peculiar role that is akin to some crummy hippy maggot playing his guitar badly while trying to sing along to some anthem charles manson wrote...but in a GOOD way! As a guitar player, I can attest that there are some very weird, completely un-natural guitar chords on "Reich", and that is what makes up the bulk of the songs' identity. Don't let the "hippy" analogy scare you off, I simply meant someone playing unknown chords that sound unsettlingly otherworldly in conjunction with the rest of the music. Upon very deep listening, one can begin to pick out melodies within these freakish tones. But there is hardly any "riffing" per se. Please do NOT get the idea this is "progressive" black metal in any way...it isn't that outre'. But I found it to be very unusual, and difficult to understand at first.

One drawback to this album, again in comparison to "Dominanz", is the vocals. They are very high-pitched and lacking in variety. There is some divergence from the usual shrieking, but not much. It walks the fine line between parody and artistry, I think. However, for those who enjoy that type of unrelenting vocal attack, they will be most enjoyable. It isn't like they sound improper in the framework of the music.

The production on this is quite thick and meaty, though the piercing vocals may not encourage you to turn it up very loud! The production and playing and material honestly do achieve the effect of making the listener feel like they're being dragged behind a tank, over blasted landscapes of barbed wire and mutilated former humans. I'm still not sure if I entirely enjoy Endstille's "new sound", but I'm sure many people will due to it's unstoppable heaviness.