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Pagan black metal bands all obey to certain general aesthetic codes, in which they seek to distinguish themselves anyway. Thus, use of dead languages, pend tribute to a disappeared people and celebrate nature are all elements that are mostly employed by bands celebrating beliefs of the past. However, conceptual accuracy is not always a priority.
This is the case for German quartet Timor and Tremor, whose name vaguely Latinized means « fear and trembling » (no, it is not the name of a children’s program). Another interesting detail, band declares interpreting « Chattic Black Metal », inspired by a Germanic tribe, fiercely opposed to Romans, which lived in Hessen at the beginning of Christian era. Finally, all the band’s lyrics are in English. Fortunately, this hodgepodge of undigested concepts does not affect the music.
Upon Bleak Grey Fields, their second album is indeed very strong. After a short narrative, Solstice launches hostilities with a testosterone-packed pagan black metal. This song illustrates main stylistic features of the Kassel’s band, where epic is never far away. This is evidenced by high notes’ rapid succession, along with a drum going at full speed. However, it is Eternal Woe that wins the album’s best song award. Rough and brutal at first, it slows down gradually, adopts clear vocals and a melancholy feeling. Sublime. Rest of the album, without reaching the same intensity, is able to keep pace and surprises by its song writing and playing maturity. Of course, similarities with other German groups practicing the same style – including Varg or Helrunar – are numerous, but Timor and Tremor is able to distinguish itself through its songs quality.
Despite my initial remarks, which can be applied to many pagan-inspired bands pouring into caricature, I admit being positively impressed by this album. Upon Bleak Grey Fields certainly does not revolutionize the genre, but offers more than forty minutes of high quality black metal, a feat that became increasingly rare these days.
Originally written for Métal Obscur.