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Horn - Feldpost - 70%

Witchfvcker, November 8th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Northern Silence Productions (Limited edition digipak)

Even though the German solo project Horn delivered one of 2008’s finest black metal albums with Naturkraft, I somehow lost track of the band in the album’s wake. Since then, sole member Nerrath has released another two albums, with Feldpost marking his sixth full-length so far. A concept album concentrating on texts from the world wars, Feldpost translates to “mail from the field”, or simply letters from the trenches.

As with Naturkraft, the distinguishing feature of Feldpost remains Nerrath’s harmonious guitar lines. Somewhat more upbeat than spiritual cousins such as Drudkh, Horn’s dark subject matters are cloaked in atmospheric melodies and a mixture of harsh and clean vocals, performed entirely in German. Despite the melodious nature of these songs, Feldpost falls squarely in the camp of somber, nostalgia-infused pagan black metal. Riffs that seem to be bleeding tragedy flow together with marching drums, adding a slight militaristic edge befitting the album’s lyrical themes. The intensity never ramps up beyond the occasional burst of speed, except for the final two tracks, which are re-recordings of tracks from the 2010 album Distanz. Although the slight tempo-increase allows for some catharsis, Feldpost shines the brightest when marching along at a middling pace.

While the songs on Feldpost aren’t as sweeping or grandiose as Naturkraft, the sorrowful mood throughout is powerful in its darkness. Nerrath’s clean vocals leave a bit to be desired, with a whiskey-drawl that might be better suited to a rowdy thrash band, but this is a minor complaint. The man’s greatest strength remains an excellent ear for writing guitar passages, and Feldpost is a potent demonstration of his abilities. Pick it up if you enjoy the autumnal melancholia of bands such as Drudkh or Falkenbach.

Written for The Metal Observer