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Welcome to N.Imperial's Nightmare - 97%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, December 11th, 2007

"I have for many years been in a continuous process of construction within the confines of my dream state. Since I was a child I have dwelled during my hours of slumber in a structure I named the Black House. Within each room is contained another sight of torment, be it seeing those close to me ripped asunder, witnessed myself in various forms of decay and abandonment, and mostly been a victim of my own growing (de-evolving) mental state of despondency and constant, violent agitation. There is not one night that passes without visitation to my dream structure, not one night where I don't see horrible visions and wake up with the memory of what occurred behind my eyes when my body was in dysfunctional status. Various times I have tried to cure this issues, be it with medicines or correctional therapy, all failing under the guidelines that my life has set. Finally I felt that the only proper way to exorcise my demons was to confine myself towards self study and create a conceptual piece to bear my wounds to whomever cared to listen. I challenge you to find something more personal, without regard to your current scene politics and trends. I stand behind my work with pride and do not regret the actions of my creative energies. I greatly bore of so many of you offering suggestions and attempting to mold my work into your ideals , to fit better into your grouping of associates. Fuck you for caring more about public opinion than real expression. Many will ask why cover a non metal band such as The Velvet Underground, so I will get this out of the way and not answer to doubters again: VU were hundreds of times more emotional, artistic and evocative than most bands currently active, and Venus in furs "speaks" of such perverse gratification that it fit perfectly within the rooms of the Black House. That is all for now, you will....again, I'm sure" - N.Imperial of Krieg (Taken from the inside the CD booklet)

Such words of warning to anyone who dares listens to this disturbing piece of work. Even though this is by a bm band, this literally makes me question my own sanity that maybe I am also mentally ill myself for enjoying the pain and anguish I get from this. Before I go into actually reviewing the album, may I remind you that the lead singer suffers from dementia and IS under heavy medication. Not that this is a bad thing. But anyone who pushes themselves to the point of absolute suffering for their own artwork is highly praise-worthy in my book. Although this might sound unethical even as a music fan, but what lead singer of any band is not crazy or insane to a certain degree?

Take a look at the front cover artwork; It's not pretty at all. A dilapidated house in the middle of god-knows-where, and completely desolate of life itself. It's not depressing. It's not "evil" either. It's just drained of any humanity that one might try as hard as they can to search for, but only end up with a scenery filled with bleakness, decay, dread, and a haunting sense of death in itself. This house reminds me of some of the more rural areas in Louisiana where they've been abandoned since the early 1920's and have done nothing but catch dust, debris, cobwebs and have yellowing pictures of families that used to exist. Ghosts of the past that might make themselves present if you dare disturb their peaceful sleep.

The album starts off with the black monolithic doom-ridden "Deconstructing the Eternal Tombs" which itself sounds like N.Imperial stomping around and waiting to snap your fucking neck in half. And reading interviews with him in several fanzines...I wouldn't be too surprised if he wouldn't be too damn hesitant to do so. From there on, it's a non-stop bombardment of REAL fucking black metal in the vein of Profanatica/Beherit/Archgoat/Moonblood etc. N.Imperial vocals sounds like he's desperately wanting the world to feel his mental pain. Imagine being taken to a dungeon, strapped to a chair, and having all of your finger nails, toes nail, and teeth pulled out with a set of pliars with no anesthesia and then left to hear not only your cries but others as well for days and nights on end. The sound quality and mixing is the best Krieg has to offer to the listener. Even N.Imperial has said so himself in interviews that this was his favorite Krieg album.

Songs such as "Deviant", "Fallen Princes Of Sightless Visions", "A Process of Dying"(an instrumental with killer fucking solo) sound like the 82nd Airborne calling in an arc light and laying waste to everything in sight. "Sickening Voices without Speech" has one of the BEST fucking breaks. Extremely schizophrenic. This one will command some serious head banging. "Fleshprison Monolith" is a classic case of study falling under the dementia/paranoia from which N.Imperial suffers from and has him giving it his all vocally. "Ruin Under A Burning Sky" is nothing but a quick lesson in dealing from the aftershocks of such calamity. Another song that makes sure the walls are dripping with blood. Did I mention the riffs? Oh yes, countless riffs upon riffs that would make any BM warrior get on his knees and pray for nuclear war to break out and watch the world be obliterated.

"...Without Light" is possibly the only room you may get a chance to breath and sounds like N.Imperial taking a break from making the listener suffer. Here, N.Imperial sounds as if he's about to slip into a strange catatonic stage but which don't count on it because "Murder without the Burden of Conscience" is more abuse plummeted on the psyche. Krieg will make sure if they intend on making the listener and themselves suffer, they better get the job done correct the first time. The cover of Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs" is really a tripped-out piece. I'm curious to know if those meds he's on finally kicked in and sedated him because up until this song he's been a raging devil pig that hasn't stopped. Truth be told, this cover really fits the album. Really surprised how Neil pulled this one off. "Rooms" brings some weird sense of gloom and the sounds of rain wash away the blood from the welts, scars, and bruises the listener has accumulated over the course of 43:27

Which now brings the question, what now? This album was/is a fucking rollercoaster through various stages of mental sickness. Many twists, turns, going up to down, side to side, and all around. A complete bombardment on the senses and fragile human mind. Much like a sanitarium.” The Black House" may not be as raw as their earlier material(IE: "The Church" e.p., "Destruction Ritual") , nowhere near the fucking brutality of the "Patrick Bateman" E.P., but for now this album stands alone as one of the better albums to come out of the USBM scene. If you're just wanting to check out Krieg, give this a listen to first. Highly recommended.

The Bleak House - 48%

Perplexed_Sjel, December 6th, 2007

GREAT! Another attempt at Krieg. I turn to Krieg when I feel like I want to rip the piss out of something and let's face it, they always give me something to do that with. So, I have landed at 'The Black House', probably Krieg's best effort at making black metal. Certainly that's the way it is seen by a vast majority of people. However, this bands undying mediocrity hasn't gone unnoticed, thankfully. I'd probably find myself tearing my hair out if I knew everyone loved good old Krieg.

People probably question why I bother listening to Krieg if I don't like them. Well, one has to remain impartial to every bit of material. No matter who it's from, or how much you hate their previous material. You have to remain open minded enough to go back time after time to see if a band has improved. In Krieg's case, well, not really. There is a vast improvement on vocals, but they're still not commanding enough. Maybe i'm expect a lot, but when I hear vocals, I want them to command my attention. Krieg's vocalist does nothing but frustrate me. Even when he puts in a half decent performance, I still find myself screaming at him to really let go of his insecurities, step up and deliver a sparkling performance. Does he ever? No, not really. 'The Black House', as I say, does mark some changes for Krieg. The music is much more focused this time around, but there is one problem that just doesn't go away. Almost all of the songs are too short. Far too short. It's hard for one to grasp an atmosphere properly when the songs are so short. There is little time for Krieg to develop an atmosphere over time because there simply isn't enough of it to do that. if Krieg spent more time writing longer tracks, and put more effort into those songs, then perhaps my opinion of them would rise, but for now. It's low.

As I said, the vocals have improved, but every now and then they slip back into old habits and produce a shocking noise. A noise that does nothing but irritate. The entire sound of 'The Black House' seems wrong to me. The production is off. It's not suited to allowing the guitars to roam around as they please and guitars are essential to black metal music. Whilst there are some tidy riffs with some nice melodic sections, they're few and far between. As I say, the production forces too much focus on to the vocals, but the vocals aren't good enough to command, as I stated earlier, so it makes me question why the vocals have such a role. Especially as they cannot command and make there presence felt. The percussion is too simplistic. Normally it wouldn't be a problem, but with the production allowing the guitar distortion to dictate, the percussion resorts to the same beats, or just blast beats. Lack of creation. Lack of flair. Lack of everything. 'The Black House', whilst being a better Krieg album, is still one to avoid.

Impressive album, Imperial at his most personal - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 2nd, 2007

I heard "The Black House" was a very good album and I saw the reviews on this website so I bought it on the strength of what I've seen and heard, and I must say I am very impressed indeed. Nearly every song here starts like a runaway train crashing into your house and everyone involved with this record, particularly Krieg kommander Imperial, puts everything they've got and more into each and every track. Imperial sings and screeches as if he's being tortured, and for once this may not be an exaggeration, at least where writing the songs and recording them are concerned for the album is themed around the mental and psychological problems Imperial has suffered for many years. One track in particular, "Fleshprison Monolith", must have been really painful for Imperial to perform: he screams here as if someone was pulling out all his nails slowly and the howling is just too much even for a listener to bear, to say nothing of what Imperial and the other guys must have had to put up with.

The musical delivery is very strong, brutal and aggressive, and the pace is usually very fast but most songs have clear and definite riffs and rhythms, or are distinctive in some way. "Fleshprison Monolith" and the following track, "Fallen Princes of Sightless Visions" feature some very severe and throat-shredding vocal histrionics by Imperial; by way of contrast, "A process of Dying", an all-instrumental piece, simply rushes headlong into an unknown disaster zone with furiously scrabbing lead guitar growing ever more chaotic and deranged, and ending in a long droney screech. Later on there is "Ruin Under a Burning Sky" which introduces itself with an ear-splitting roar from Imperial, so loud it could knock out a herd of African bull elephants; the rest of the track features quite a few blastbeats and plenty of growling and is pretty much a footnote to that scream but it is still very powerful.

The inclusion of the Velvet Underground song "Venus in Furs" can be a bit strange as it's the slowest and quietest song and Imperial reduces his voice to a growling narrative-styled delivery so it does stick out a lot and takes some getting used to. However there is a dark and sinister reptilian ambience and the song's lyrics fit in with the album's theme. The use of a viola during the chorus heightens the haunted, creepy feel of the song. The outro piece "Rooms", obviously a reference to the recesses of Imperial's troubled mind, is a natural follow-on from "Venus ..." and could even be an extension of it: it is an ambient piece with the sound of waves running up and down a beach, mirroring perhaps the ebb and flow of the dreams and nightmares that torment Imperial so.

Generally the strongest part of "The Black House" is in the middle of the album (tracks 4 - 8 which include the tracks mentioned in the second paragraph) though perhaps the important tracks are "Venus in Furs" and "Rooms" since they directly address the album's theme. This is not to say earlier tracks are slouches - "Deconstructing the Eternal Tombs" is actually a strong opener to the album with a great driving rhythm and a batter of bass-heavy guitars kicking off the track and then some complex urgent percussion work and riffs coming in later - it's just that the album hits a peak about halfway-through and sustains it there for a number of songs thanks to excellent all-round musicianship led and inspired by Imperial and the extremes he goes to, and the ideas the musicians throw in as well. With music as searing as this, the production really has to take a back-seat which it does to let the raw quality and emotional intensity come through; you certainly feel the rawness, brutality and agony of Imperial's inner torment and his need to exorcise his demons in his music.

The CD sleeve photos of the derelict farmhouse shot in black and white are fitting for this recording: you look at them and start to feel cold and uneasy at the ghosts and secrets hiding behind those dead peeling timbers. This is "The Black House" indeed.

I should add too that if you are not familiar with Krieg's music, this is a good album to introduce yourself to him; there is plenty of black metal here but all songs have melody and are all written very well, plus the musicians play with a lot of spirit and belief in themselves and the music.

The Black House - 90%

Infernal_Wheel, June 13th, 2004

Many were surprised to see a Velvet Underground cover on the tracklisting of Krieg's new album "The Black House". However, given the context of the album, Imperial's cover of "Venus in Furs" fits perfectly within "The Black House". This album captures an extremely dark and obscure setting. The listener is thrown violently around with almost every song starting with a blast beat. The riffs then transition into a beautiful lead guitar line which provides a much needed balance to the brutal album. The mental anguish fed through the guitars, tortuous vocals and occasional yells of agony provide further torment to the listener. Needless to say, the listener won't find any glamour or delusions of granduer in this album. This is a work of emotion in its most purest and rawest state. The overall experience of the album leaves the listener into a cold limbo of solitude.

"This is the result of years of mental 'illness' and though it may not seem to fit what you consider 'black metal' I challenge you to find something more personal, without regard to your current scene politics and trends".

Different, but in a good way - 96%

Black_Metal_Bastard, March 23rd, 2004

This is the newest release from the USBM horde Krieg. With it comes some major changes.

First of all, Krieg has a complete lineup now, instead of Imperial doing everything. Second of all, the music is actually structured and audible. Guitars are no longer just raw buzzsaw-like static, but actually stick out with audible riffs, mostly tremolo picked, but there are many heavy, powerful sections throughout the album as well. The guitar riffs are also more complex at times, instead of just one riff speed picked the entire song. There are even a few solos scattered throughout, like on Fallen Princes of Sightless Vision. There is also a bass this time around, and it makes this release have an even fuller sound, and it's even audible sometimes. Drums are precise and solid, with a ton of neat fills throughout. The blastbeats don't sound like noise this time around like they have in the past. Cryptic Winter did an excellent job this time. Imperial's vocals are harsh, grim, raw, piercing, you name it. He did a fantastic job, even throwing in some growls here and there.

The Velvet Underground cover is also a highly enjoyable listen to. By adding their own elements to this song, they make it their own.

The production is also much much better on this record. Basically, Krieg has taken an almost 100% turn around with this album. Yeah production isn't Cradle of Filth-like, but who gives a shit?? I don't and they wouldn't sound this killer if they did anyway. Another thing that sticks out is the overall atmosphere. It is definately something that will take you away to lands of darkness and eerie, grim forests.

I hail Imperial and the rest of the horde for making this fuckin grim album. Black Metal doesn't get much better than this. I recommend this album to any diehard BM fan, and even if you are a trendy fucker, try this out, and be converted to TRUE BM.

Standout tracks: Murder Without the Burden of Conscience, Fallen Princes of Sightless Vision, A Process of Dying, Venus In Furs, shit, the whole album fuckin rules!!