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Soundscapes of the night - 100%

HowlingMoon666, October 20th, 2012

I found this album very similar to the first Autumnblaze full-length, musically speaking. Both contain this brilliant braid of melodic black metal riffs with melancholic acoustic guitars shattering here and there, both bands using amazing clean vocals and last but not least very good black metal vocals.

The first song of the album, "Nächtlich Liebend", is a masterpiece and already draws you in the world that Dornenreich created. Wild, raw and melancholic with sharp, angry vocals which remind me of Gaahl's from Gorgoroth. Intensely-paced keyboards and fitting drumming make this song an amazing piece of music. The middle part is one of the greatest piano riffs I've ever heard since I started listening to metal and simply cuts you off from this world and hurls thee into a rain-washed forest, beaten by gentle winds.

"Wundenküssen" is an aggressive song with creepy keyboards leading to a leaden atmosphere. I can't find something similar to this specific piece that Dornenreich deliver. They are simply too original to find a band that are similar to them. This song has a powerful theatrical influence. One can easily write a play for this instrumental. Maybe that sick bastard Seregor from Carach Angren. He would easily do this kind of stuff. Once again, the rampant voice and flowing keyboards stop, leaving space for the atmospheric acoustic guitars and clean voice. Get used to this technique on this album.

"Reime faucht der Märchensarg", the third song, is one of my personal favorites on this magnificent album. Drawing such an atmosphere that you won't be able to find anywhere else, but on this particular full-length. It has a certain Spanish influence regarding the acoustic riff, something very close to a slow-paced flamenco. This makes this song fucking delicious. These guys really know their shit. Such a pity they, like many other magnificent bands, have lost their inspiration these days. Where the fuck have you seen symphonic black with flamenco riffs, huh? I know...nowhere. Then check out this particular song.

"Federstrich in Grabesnähe"...talk about flamenco. This song (the shortest of the album), is a brilliant piece of flamenco, but I kinda like just the beginning. The beginning sounds awesome, but the next riffs kinda crush the beatitude that was meant to be. I won't talk about this song any more.

"Leben Lechzend Herzgeflüster" is again melancholy and tears my soul. These guys create such beautiful music. That clean voice is pure musical talent. The vocalist has one of the most incredible black metal vocals I've ever heard, similar and so far away at the same time with Gaahl's. This song also has a guitar solo and Jesus, what a fucking solo, and the ending part raises the hairs on you. Too much awesomeness for a human being. These guys are ridiculously good musicians.

"Oran Erkennt Mich Dine Sehnsucht Morgen?" is the end of our journey and really sounds like an end for something. Not sure for what, but it surely sounds like an end should sound, mournful and depressing. That anguished vocalist takes a well-deserved break to let this baritone do his fucking job, and he surely does.

Buy this cd. It is amazing. Hail to flamenco!

The best step of musical evolution - 99%

larsen, February 4th, 2008

How strange it is to see the quantity of melodic black metal bands who change their musical orientation between the two first albums who are mostly the best ones of their careers before the coming downfall, result of their lack of inspiration and evolution to a more commercial and less interesting music full of "clichés". Dornenreich is one of those excellent bands who unfortunately changed too much after the release of two incredible cds, but I prefer remember their highlights, that's why I review this cd and not the next one. They are one of those numerous bands who played a good melodic black metal stuff for their beginning and who wanted to express something else through the second album without betraying the roots. This is the reason why their second album is the best one.

"Bitter ist's dem Tod zu dienen" could be considered as being a real masterpiece. They showed their whole musical potential through this album that combines symphonic black metal and acoustic oriented parts. This is nothing really original due to the fact that a lot of bands play such a kind of music. However, the way Dornenreich is playing this combination is apart and make them sound original without being "weird". This cd just proofs that it's not impossible to express strong emotions, true power and originality by playing a kind of music often known as being commercial. The overture of the album "Nächtlich liebend" is in my opinion even one of the best Symphonic tracks that was ever composed. This song might be catchy, but at the same time full of inventive melodies.

It's rare to mix so perfectly power and emotions. As well the harsh vocals as the clean ones are well done. It's the same with the intense drum play. The keys really create something special and are not just present to overflow the bad guitars. At the opposite, they are in harmony with the guitar melodies which variations are notable too. You can also hear folk elements and acoustic parts that proof the ability of this Austrian band to play a very various music. There is nothing extremely bad here, although the two acoustic tracks are not as good as the rest of the album, but nobody obliges you to listen them. So, if you seek for a real excellent symphonic black metal album that offers something different than just two crappy keyboard melodies hiding the bad play of the others untalented musicians, this masterpiece is for you.

A True Piece of Art - 92%

TransylvanianForest, June 16th, 2006

I usually don't care about lyrics. Especially if it's black metal lyrics, since most of the time they're stupid or just repeating slogans we've heard many times before. It's different with Dornenreich though. In short, their lyrics deal a lot with thoughts, dreams and life from a philosophical point of view, and they are excellent both content-wise as well as lyrically, which is why I decided to include extra points for them into the rating. Everybody familiar with Dornenreich knows that their "poems" are very important to them, and I've always considered their releases a combination of music and words right from the first time I’ve listened to them. This is important for most of you, since as far as I know, there's few German speakers around here, so most of you won't be able to appreciate Dornenreich's all-German lyrics, and maybe won't like the album as much as I do.

There is, however, a lot to appreciate in the music as well. Dornenreich's style has changed tremendously over the years (especially since the release of "Hexenwind"), but on this album they play a style closely related to black metal, with lots of keyboards and strings, using quite a number of acoustic guitars and calm(er) parts as well, but manage to never drift away into cheesiness. The general mood of the album is very "dream-like", meaning it's all a little blurry, but quite transparent at the same time, like behind a wall of glass or a thin veil of winter mist. It's nowhere near the confusing and overloaded style of symphonic black metal acts such as Limbonic Art or Emperor; in fact, I wouldn't call it "symphonic black metal" – as some people do – but rather "melodic black metal". It's definitely not for people who are into raw and hateful black metal, but fans of melodic black or harder gothic metal (e.g. Tristania) will most probably love it.

Although the song structures are very complex (no verse/chorus patterns or the like), the melodies always represent the centre of the songs and are very clear. It's easy to make out the individual instruments in the mix, with the exception of the bass. Usually the melodies are played by strings and keys (and sometimes acoustic guitars), while electric guitars and the excellent drum work provide for the required heaviness, but occasionally the e-guitars give melodies as well. The smart instrumentation of the album must be one of the main reasons why it is so good, and the melodies are just amazing. The music has a lot of romantic melancholy to it (remaining powerful though), but never gets depressing in a doom metal way.

The vocals are another thing that deserves a paragraph of its own. Evíga, who also writes all of Dornenreich's lyrics, gives the lead vocal, screaming most of the time, but also whispering when appropriate; his performance is just great. Thankfully he does not yet act as over-the-top as on the follow-up "Her von welken Nächten", on which he adopted an awful squealing from time to time. Valñes' vocals are labelled "dirges" in the booklet, and I couldn't think of a better description for them. They are much more prominent than on any other Dornenreich album released so far (June 2006), accounting to about one third of all the vocals, and even doing the lead vocal for some time on track #6. Although they may sound a bit ridiculous at first, they are absolutely great and the perfect counterpoint to Evíga's raw screams once you get used to them. I don't know how or why it is, but they somehow have a unique foreign accent to them, which I love.

Considering the individual tracks, tracks 1 – 3 as well as the black metal ballad "Woran erkennt mich deine Sehnsucht morgen?" (#6) are some of the best songs I have ever heard, even without the lyrics, and I wouldn't hesitate a second to rate them at 100%. They have more of an equal balance between hard, semi-hard and calm parts than the remaining two tracks, especially #4, which is just acoustic guitar, strings, whispers and occasional drumming. This does not mean #4 and #5 are bad, but they just aren't on par with the rest of the album.

To close this review, I just want tell you I've been owning this CD for over three years now, so it definitely withstood the test of time. I already told you who will like the album and who will not, and although it might be hard to get outside Europe, I consider this piece of art a must-have for fans of the genre. Buy it on the web, and make sure you order "Her von welken Nächten" with it so you can save shipping costs ;)

A Huge step forward - 100%

flowergatherer, April 26th, 2006

Second album by this strange,whimsical and weird band.
Unlike their first album that featured furious black metal more in true black metal fashion,this time round Dornenreich made a huge step forward and changed their style into gothic black with folk influences.Music has really improved a lot,became more varied,each instrument part is more elaborated, thought-out and amazingly intriguing.Traces of more melodical approach were clearly noticible in their debut work but here they simply outdone themselves in terms of technical and song-writing skills.It`s just unbelievable that it took them only 2 years to transform from black metal newcomers into high-class professional musicians!

Album is comprised of 6 long pieces that last about 8 or 9 minutes each,so it`s a nice opportunity for a band to realize all their ideas and thoughts.Very much emphasis is put on guitar lines (both acoustic and electric).Keyboards support the atmosphere,but at times come to the foreground to perform their leading part.Vocal lines change from screams to clear singing to add this gothic feel.
German lyrics supplement more mystery and obscurity to the overall musical canvas when being sung in English would loose some queerness and authenticity.

Dark music not depressive though,with moments of sunlight and calm,sadness and anger,fury and reflection.Undoubtedly this album will appeal most to romantisists and daydreamers,people who are not averse to musical experimentation and event to those who enjoy classical music.
I`d like to mention again the guitar work.Eviga has his own personal style ,that is very unique.He plays black like no other.

So go and get this unusual,interesting and not ordinary work by this austrian trio!!!.