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The title of the release is rather peculiar. This German word 'Verstiegenheit' is used rather seldom and I find it difficult to recall a situation in which I have used the nominalisation back in the past. In some way the verb might pop-up now and then, but the version used by the American band is quite outré. To those unfamiliar with the German tongue the translation offers some insights into the meaning of this word: eccentricity; it is an approximation, but I cannot say that I am too satisfied with it.
When it comes to the music of the American band though, this term gives a clear and good indication on the concept as well as its execution. Metal, or black metal in particular, seems to be rather some sort of 'nice to have' than anything that can be described as underlying idea behind all of the outputs. A glance over the entire back catalogue reveals a width that might raise an eyebrow. There is noise, there is ambient, there is even some electronic stuff. Something from 'everything' had been thrown together into one band, while an underlying idea seems to be impossible to make out. More of this later.
It is generally difficult to actually describe this band as some sort of black metal. Despite the vocals and in some respect also the atmosphere, when it comes to the arrangements, the flow in the music as well as the riffs, then everything point into various but quite different directions. Influences from rock, death metal and progressive genres, to name only some, can be found throughout the entire release. These are especially apparent once the dynamics take a dive and the band attempts to use doomy parts as a counterpoint to the hectic and noisy ones, which mark a core essence of 'Jute Gyte'.
It seems the album had been broken into two parts, separated by an instrumental track – 'Church not made with Hands', track number four. Actually, this is a curious thing, because neither of these segments feel very much different from each other. In both the often hysteric screams can be found, the drum-computer terror is also apparent, arrangements and also the flow show striking similarities etc. etc. etc. Generally, such a disruption feels quite arbitrary and without any kind of cohesiveness with the rest of the concept.
Interestingly the band refers to its own predicament in the actual title of this release. 'Verstiegenheit' comes from 'sich in etwas versteigen', which can be translated to: to lose oneself in something (a situation or so). It is not necessarily a positive word. In fact, it might mean the opposite of what the band actually intended to express. While it reflects a rather positive meaning that deals with a certain amount of daringness to innovate and to eccentricity, it also a certain kind of narrowness of the mind and limitation of perspective. When it comes to the art of 'Jute Gyte' this would be true in some respect.
Despite the general tendency and emphasis on exploring concepts with the attempt of breaking out of the all too narrow boundaries of the black metal genre, the band has lost a bit of focus on the core elements; this would be true of this as well as of the succeeding albums that happen to have a narrowness and predictability in style that makes it a tiring experience. Everything shifts, while the actual way it does feels unnecessarily arbitrary.
Furthermore, with all these albums that have seen the light of day already, it is much surprising how such trifles as the pointless drum-computer barrage, odd balancing issues and the like are still allowed to make an appearance.
Verstiegenheit is a strange release, with a rather eclectic concept that does give the impression of being thoroughly sound and well balanced. Nice elements here, some charming motive there, but from a broader perspective it becomes tiring as well as predictable all too soon.
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 19)’:
review originally posted at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
Adam Kalmbach has been a busy individual. Since I reviewed Old Ways, his third CD of impressive, one man black metal back in 2009, he has released 6 more albums under the Jute Gyte moniker, including a couple of atmospheric experimental albums. There obviously isn’t a lot to do in Springfield, Missouri (I can attest to that).
The latest of his efforts (and second album he released in 2011) is Verstiegenheit (German for ‘Extravagance’), and I’m flabbergasted why a label like Moribund Cult or Bindrune Recordings hasn’t picked this guy up yet, as he has the potential to be the new Wrest or Malefic. other than the expected limitations of a one man recording with programmed drums and a reedy guitar sound, the music Kalmbach writes is now top notch covering all the bases of brittle, spiteful black metal, creepy atmospherics and a contrasting, unique style that makes his music stand out above much of the like minded one man black metal out there today.
Initially, Kalmbach appears to have toned things down since Old Ways, with less noisy, grating industrialized black metal, but a more organic, Nattens Magridal sound, but with a more bass. About 3;18, 6:00 and 7:00 into impressive, buzzing opener “Gates of Day and Night” he shows off some really nice riffage that’s much more impressive than some of the sheer noise of Old Ways. But “Apparitions in the Woodlands at Dusk” shatters the ambiance with a lurching, unhinged 11 minutes of chaos. But the contrasting ability Kalmbach has appears for “The Light that Hangs above the Fields” another shrill, galloping, early Ulver-ish number, with some unsettling shrieking injections an even an menacing lurch that shows Kalmbach just isn’t easy to predict or pigeonhole (his atmospheric releases cement this). “Emblem of Fertile Blood and Death” is another grainy, tremolo picked assault that at times, stands toe to toe with Anaal Nathrahk‘ s early intensity. But the albums standout is the 11 minute “The Frailty of Everything Revealed” which comes across like a much nastier, contorted, less hipster version of Liturgy.
Kalmbach’s more introspective side is represented by “Church Not made With Hands” and “The Return and the Revere of Desolate Places (late Idyll;)”, two instrumental/atmospheric tracks that break up the causticity but they won’t make me check out his more experimental CDs (Communicants, Ridenour’s Earth and Ghost Sickness).
The only downside with Verstiegenheit, as with all Jute Gyte and Jeshimoth Entertainment releases, the album comes in a DVD package, not a regular CD case, making for awkward storage. But if you can cope with that, this as well as Old Ways and 2010′s Young Eagle represent a very talented, promising individual artist, who thankfully has too much time on his hands.
Originally posted on my reviews-blog at www.heavymetalspotlight.com
Another "free" one I found (the minimum donation being $0.00, which makes me feel rather stingy to not have paid) is the creation of a black-metal solo-artist Adam Kalmbach. "Verstiegenheit" meaning "Extravagance" in German. The band, however, is from the USA. Jute Gyte is an experimental take on the black-metal style, but still nods towards the black metal roots.
The album bursts straight into a full blown blast-wave of sound, with the first track "Gates of Day and Night", in which the artists style becomes immediately apparent, and the experimental aspects of the work immediately rear their heads. Aside from playing fast, ferocious and immersing black metal, with a fantastic scream which I've not heard equaled often, the traditional areas of the music are backed up with an underlying guitar-wail which evokes the sound that staring into the void would make, if, that is, staring made a noise. The following track, an eleven minute behemoth, also carries this ferocious air, but then subsides, into some melancholy, slower paced stuff, with truly savage screaming woven through it. Throughout the album, there are some truly innovative and fascinating musical arrangements, such as eerie oscillating tones, which cannot fail to cause pleasure as I listen to them, and which make me ponder why the band is not better known.
Adam Kalmbach, the man behind the work, is, from what I gather, originally a composer of electronic, noise music type material, which, despite my pitiful ignorance of, has definitely influenced the albums experimental sound, in many ways, especially in terms of the way it is arranged. In songs such as "The Light That Hangs Above the Fields", the heavy work immediately, without warning, collapses in upon itself, into a soft, creepy sounding parts, broken by vocals equally as harsh as those sung during the heavy parts, which is something which I haven't heard before. When I got over the initial bizarreness of the contrast, it sounded very effective, and all aspects, both heavy and soft, are complimented excellently by the albums production values, which are right in the middle - neither over nor under produced.
I'll not lie, some of the aspects of the album take a while to get used to. The softness mixed with the screaming, especially, was initially rather grating, but with time, it grew on me. It's sheer originality, or at least, as far as I know, originality, is impressive, as is the album as a whole, and is very much appreciable. I'd go as far as to say that this is the best one-man-black-metal project I've encountered after Burzum.
Missouri's Jute Gyte continues to lead an impressive double life as an experimental/ambient obscurity and an adventurous black metal combo. Verstiegenheit is the latest evocation of the latter, following upon the poignant heels of prior efforts like Old Ways (2008) and Eagle Heart (2010). Wrought from a moral haze, sauteed in emotional escapism, and primed in a stark poetic discourse. You'll of course experience all of the baleful repetition and raw potency you'd expect from other 'bedroom' acts within the black metal genre at large, but Adam Kalmbach assures more than a mere mirror to the familiar nihilistic pandering, but layers of nuance and substrate that catch at the edge of perception like muted specters hidden in a watercolor painting.
From the onset, Versteigenheit operates under the deceit of a straight black metal affair than either of the other albums I've covered, "Gates of Day and Night" providing roughly nine minutes of grim, charging abandon. However, despite the monotony of the drum sequence, and the Burzum-like grated torment of Kalmbach's vocal presence, the choice in chords is incredibly curious, almost like a mesh of accelerated grunge and 90s noise rock rather than the bleeding Scandinavian miasma of oppression. This is further expounded within the next track, "Apparitions in the Woodlands at Dusk", in which a similar rush of pummeling chords are affixed to a hissing layer of distortion. this track is where the experimentation truly arrives, first in the mellow, muddled bluesy breakdown at 2:00, then later in the jarring rock riffs and curving bass-lines after 4:00.
Trust me, you've not heard anything quite like this before, and such strange hypnosis provides one of the compelling reasons that Jute Gyte deserves further examination aloft the saturated spectrum of underground darkness. Most of the tracks follow a comparable formula in that they are between 8-12 minutes in length, opening with steady rhythmic charges, but they've all got surprises in store for those who dread that ennui might set in. There are several deviations in the tonal ambiance of brief interlude "Church Not Made With Hands" or the resonant guitar instrumental "To Return and Revere the Desolate Places (Late Idyll)", but on the whole the pieces fit with a formidable, haunting balance. Verstiegenheit might require several exposures before it seeps into the listener's skin, but as usual, Kalmbach is not interested in accessibility, nor the cheap rewards of the easier road. This is impressive, important music, but it flits across the depths of the surreal and secret. It's not coming to you. You're going to have to chase it.