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Raw production vs. Bad production - 40%

Songsavers, November 19th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, Cicatrix

[Originally posted at]

When properly done, raw production adds incredible depth of atmosphere. For example, take Ulver's Nattens madrigal – Aatte hymne til ulven i manden: buzzsaw guitars, screeching vocals, and hollow percussion that create a haunting, coarse masterwork that evokes primitive animus through the imagery of wolves. It would not have nearly the same callous acerbity with "good" production; Nattens madrigal is the sonic equivalent of nature's ruthlessness.

The Church exhibits what happens when "raw" becomes "bad." On Nattens madrigal, one can still hear each instrument, melody, and construct; Ulver did not forsake clarity in pursuit of harshness. Krieg's The Church throws all manner of clarity out the window for an almost unlistenable mess - not "unlistenable" in the sense of bad musicianship, but "unlistenable" as in it's extremely difficult to actually hear anything other than hoarse HOOBADOOBA lyrics and potato-quality percussion.

"Destruction Ritual" has some decent riffs buried in the deep, dark clipping of twenty dollar desktop speakers; and the second recording of "To Wander the Stars" is a brutal example of the war metal that Krieg would later explore on the Patrick Bateman extended-play and The Black House full-length. The production quality on the latter track is notably different from the rest of the album, and had The Church been entirely recorded in that quality, then it would be a far more effective and enjoyable listen. Otherwise, it just further signifies the extant unevenness. The middle three tracks are dreadful.

The New Jersey black metallers grew the beard starting with the release of Blue Miasma; but The Church is a good example of how spotty the group was during their first decade of existence.

Dammit, I tried. - 34%

Spawn_of_Cthulhu, July 7th, 2005

The first time I heard this was on a shitty little clock radio, and it sounded terrible. Today I tried it again in my car speakers- it still sounded terrible. I'm listening to it right now on my computer's speakers, and guess what? It still sounds terrible. Not to knock the music- I'm pretty sure that if I could just hear what was going on, this would get at least a 50, maybe even a 60. But since I can't, well... eh.

It can't be a good thing when the first thing that strikes you about a cd is its utterly awful production. And I don't mean awful in a good way. I love raw production- when it's done right, it adds incalculable amounts of atmosphere to a recording. When it's done wrong, well, you have The Church. The (lack of) production here doesn't add atmosphere, it simply renders everything but the drums and vocals nearly inaudible.

What you can expect to hear on this album is a lot of standard BM screeching over drums that sound like someone hitting wooden blocks together. Sure, there's some faint buzzy static in the background, but unless you're prepared to do some serious fucking with the equalizer, there's no way you're going to hear anything even approximating a riff. They might be the best black metal riffs EVAR, but most people won't have the patience (or the system) to dig them up from under all the YEGGGHPLOKKAPLOKKAPLOKKA they're buried under.

In sum- this might have been promising, but it's totally ruined by the shittiest production job this side of France. If you're curious/masochistic, download it. Then kill all the low end and set everything to come out of one speaker- you MIGHT just hear some riffs.

Not bad, but Not necessarily good either. - 58%

WhenWolvesReturn, October 14th, 2004

I bought this from Redstream because I really like Krieg's other stuff. They're a very noisy black metal band and I think they don't get a lot of credit mostly because they're from the US.

USBM doesn't have to be bad, these guys prove that, but I wish they would have a bit more variation in the songs. The guitarist changes his riffs throughout, it's not all the same as I've seen stated in some reviews of Krieg's other work. That's not to say it doesn't mesh together, I will admit all the guitar parts sound pretty similar, but if you listen to the guitar parts in this and some guitar parts in early Darkthrone, you'll see a very similar sound, except, however, Krieg's production is much better than early darkthrone.

I think that's another thing that bothers people about this release and other Krieg albums, the production is really good for black metal.

The vocalist belts out some of the best screams I've ever heard, and it really impresses me how he can go on and on with it like I'm sure some other people can't. Not only is this a plus, but the band plays live (not a whole lot of black metal bands do that anymore.)

The drummer has a china cymbal and knows how to use it, I think that's great because china cymbals are the shit and it's used really well. The timing is GREAT in this. The band knows their songs really well, and it's just a hardcore droning throughout.

Absolute bottom line - considering it's 6.00 at Redstream, you should get it, but I wouldn't pay more than 6.00

So... what about this church anyway? - 11%

Funeral_Shadow, September 16th, 2004

Krieg are an American black metal group... a Tr00 black metal group, raw in sound and primative lyric based ideas relating to destruction, hate, and darkness. Because these guys are a American black metal group, I thought why not check them out? It's hard to find decent black metal groups in the USA. So I end up going to a metal shop which I always go to and find "The Church" in the used section of the store for about $5.00. Well of course I went and took advantage of the price and bought it. Though I feel robbed now of my mere $5.00 because this is Krieg within itself (Krieg is a German word for war, in which the album sounds like hell and war in itself, which isn't a good thing.).

Okay, so they're raw black metal but damn at least can't it sound good?! Recently, I realized that this EP includes one of Krieg's demo called "Forgotten Secrets." The first 4 tracks are from the demo, and the last two are newely recorded... well kind of recorded being vocals were added about a year later. Thus, this made the rating for this album go up by very few points due to the fact that most of this is demo material (it's kind of like they're "pity points.") Why would a "kvlt" band release a demo again with two crappy tracks as an EP? I'm beginning to think that Krieg, as a tr00 band, are just greedy for some $$$, which aren't ideals of tr00 bands, so that's really lame for them.

So moving on with the production of the album, the guitars are weak and very monotonus; its like one chord is being played throughout all the songs. The tempo of the leads and rythms are all the samen also... it's fast but boring. Bass... oh where in the hell is the bass in the music?! Music is terrible without any harmonic distortion within the music! The drums sound like pots and pans with trash lids as cymbals! The beats are boring and repetitive with lame double bass sound and snares sounding so dull. Every track kinda sounds like "THUMP THUMP THUMPA THUMP THUMP THUMPA..." As for Mr. Imperials vocals... well damn I don't see what's so Imperial with his vocal style. He sounds very distorted and the vocals have no range what-so-ever. He's very monotonus, sounds like he doesn't give it his all in his "singing." Imperial sounds more like an anorexic supermodel who is puking and speaking at the same time; it's horrific. He should move to a different profession other than singing because his singing is equivalent to a teacher with long nails scratching a chalk board!!!!! Ahhh stop the madness!

The first track "Destruction Ritual" demonstrates all of these qualities which I've described. There's no creativity in the music; the track jumps right into the music with weak guitars with the pots and pans pounding away as Imperial vomits on the microphone in the studio! Ugh it's disgusting! Then somewhere inbetween all the redundanceness is a melodic break which is kinda like one of those "what the fuck" momments because it doesn't go well at all with the track! They should have kept it going with all the monotonus instead of attempting to change their tempo and sound within the music.

"To Wander The Star"... let's see, if you want my analysis on this track then read my first diagnosis on "Destruction Ritual" and minus the melodic part I've talked about. Do all that basic math and that's your analysis for this track. Don't get my idea yet?! If you're slow, then I'll put it like this for you... THEY SOUND THE SAME! Oh my gosh it's track number one again! Why bother naming it a different "song?" It starts off the same way with Imperial screaming in the beginning and he starts vomiting again. The music once again sounds like pots and pans with weak "guitars", no bass and a anorexic fuck! Damn this is when I realized that I made a biiiiiiiiiig mistake buying this album!

Next is "The Anceint Dwell Beneath" which is an excelent track! ...NOT! Let me make myself clear on one thing here... ALL THE TRACKS SOUND THE SAME! This song starts the same exact way as number one and two and ends the same way! Geez did the producers make a huge type-o in naming the tracks, accidentally naming all the tracks as different things?! It should be more like "track 1 - Destruction Ritual, track 2 - Destruction Ritual..." That's more like it! Need I explain this song now?

And here we have... uh fuck it, why should I even bother reviewing "As Graveyard Rites, As Darkness Descends...?" Really, I'm getting the idea that I'm wasting my time just making a review for this album. Why don't I just put down that "Hey metalheads! All tracks are the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" As I said before, the tracks starts with a quick beginning with Imperial screaming and drums... er pots and pans banging away. Sheesh I never thought pots and pans could be played so feriously like the drummer plays them! I guess the drummer couldn't afford real drums for this EP... damn that sucks lol. Well that's this track for you.

Now here we have "Destruction RItual" once again... oh my gosh! This isn't a type-o like all the other tracks!!!! Nah, well actually this is a track which had the music recorded some years ago and then vocals were done a few years later. I must say that this track is better than the first version of "Destruction Ritual" because the production is clearer... did I mention that about this album?! It's raw black metal, but damn can't this raw black metal at least have decent production?! Well this track has decent production but I still hold a grudge against Imperial's vocal style. It's crap but the music is alittle more clearer. Thank goodness for this track being somewhat decent because if this was like all the other tracks, the rating for this review would be a zero!

I've had high expectations for Krieg being a primiere American black metal group but this album just killed all of those feelings for them. It created a "krieg" within my emotions for American black metal because I'm getting the feeling that there are no great US black metal groups! Makes me feel pitiful to be in the American scene... I mean I love other genres but black is my favorite and it sucks that I only have to look overseas for black metal groups! Well Krieg are a bad example of US black metal or at least this album demonstrates that. Maybe I should check out their later releases but this release is a kreig within itself... it's HELL and I don't mean that in a good way!

Ear catchers: NONE