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Ahnengrab - Schattenseiten - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, November 8th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Einheit Produktionen (Digipak)

I absolutely love the cover artwork of this album. One does get the feeling of having found an entrance to an ancient and mystic world with the path ahead leading into the foggy unknown. Kept in different shades of grey, black and fuzzy white this is a stunning piece of art. Song titles like “Herbstbeginn” (beginning of fall) or “Rad der Zeit” (wheel of time) underline this feeling and I for one can only recommend to enjoy this album on a cold November day looking out of the window sipping a dram of fine single malt.

While the package is always of importance for collectors like myself (and the label Einheit Produktionen being aware of this fact delivering top quality as usual) the main focus should be on the music so let’s get into that. The guys hailing from the business city Frankfurt have been playing together since 2006 with “Schattenseiten” being their third full length. Not being familiar with their previous work I cannot talk about potential progressions – however, what I CAN tell is that this album is forged with a lot of passion and musical skills of the highest order. They are walking the path between creating a very certain mood but still delivering straight chops for the metal crowd with ease.

While I would say that the main ingredients here have been taken from the black metal pool there are obvious folk and pagan metal influences to be found as well. The bleakness and the haunting soundscapes building the backbone to the heavy instrumentation are a very important factor to the overall picture that is painted by the band. While the tempo is kept in mid-tempo most of the time some of the tremolo riffs come fast and furious and without mercy. The songwriting is great with some well-placed tempo and rhythm changes giving the whole album a great flow. While there are some impressive soloing parts the song structures are never too complicated making this album quite easy to enjoy from the first moment on.

Epic lead harmonies are interchanging with blast-beat attacks and some acoustic and more light-hearted parts. The band made sure that there is not a moment of boredom although the album runs for nearly an hour. Also the vocals have been done in a flexible matter combining the classic snarling and barking of black metal with a cleaner style – depending on what a certain section asks for. All these elements are cleverly placed and the consumer never gets the feeling that the single pieces have been just randomly stuck together. “Schattenseiten” feels like an album planned and composed as a whole to deliver the best possible experience.

With a clean yet powerful production there are no worries that any of the details have been buried in the mix. Any metal fan looking for an album full of great harmonies and atmospheric moments should look no further and order this one. You won’t regret it.