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Exactly what I was craving - 100%

Rabbi_On_Acid, November 8th, 2007

It's going to be be hard for me to stay objective and rational reviewing an album which has had such a profound effect on me and my view on black metal, my most-appreciated subgenre of metal for over four years now. This will all probably turn into an orgy of delirious worship. But then again, if any album or band deserves that, this is the one.
I'll first describe my discovery of this album's beauty.

I'd already heard a fraction of Glück quite soon after the album's release, but for some reason, I turned it off after a few minutes, thinking it sounded very different from what I was used from Lunar Aurora. I'd known the band for a little over a year, focusing mostly on Of Stargates..., Ars Moriendi and Elixir of Sorrow. I can't really remember why I thought this was so different. In any case it wouldn't be for another few months before I tried the album the way it's supposed to be heard.

But then, in June 2007, I decided to give it another chance. This time the setting was to be exactly right. I turned off the lights, closed the curtains, lit a few candles and a stick of incense, packed a bowl of weed and made myself comfortable. Smoking contently I turned on the album and let it all wash over me in the semi-darkness of my room through my huge-ass headphones.
This time, though it was still not what I expected from Aran & co. (in hindsight it might have been the palm-muted riffs that pop up here and there), I knew this was what I'd been looking for for a long time. I had become very disappointed with how boring and emotionally shallow bands like Gorgoroth and Satanic Warmaster really sound (to me at least) and was looking for something with more feeling, more individuality, more depth. This was exactly it. I let it fill my headscpace entirely, and take my mind away on whatever journey it had planned for me.
By the time Dunkler Mann came up I knew I'd never heard anything like this before. The song really scared me, yet made me feel extremely euphoric at the same time. It was almost a spiritual experience. At some point during the song I had to take off my headphones for a minute because it was almost too intense to handle. And the second half of Andacht was in no way inferior to the first. Such a dense atmosphere and momumental songwriting I had seldom encountered

As for the sound, what you can expect from Andacht is an exceptionally heavy, exceptionally varied slab of atmospheric black metal, with keyboard accents and samples in all the right places. The closest analogy would be Srontgorrth or Virus West by Nagelfar. It has six songs, all over seven and a half minutes long, all having an integrated intro with keyboards and samples. If you know Trist, Aran's dark ambient project, you'll know that these intros are actually scary, something which most other bands that try fail at. Each of the songs on Andacht has its very own identity, mood and atmosphere, and their own ways in which this mood and atmosphere is created. And each of these songs is interesting throughout its entire length. Not a single boring moment can be found. It's full of momunmental riffs, yet remains drenched in an arcane atmosphere. In contrast to a lot of ambient black metal, which often focuses on endless repetition to gain its hypnotic effect, most of the songs here work toward some form of climax, most obviously so in Findling and Das Ende. I could go into detailed descriptions of the songs themselves but I think you should discover it for yourself.

The lyrics are all in German, all somewhat abstract for as far as I could decipher. More personal, more detailed and more poetic than your average satanic, pagan or suicidal BM subject matter. There are multiple vocal styles at work here, mostly Aran's more than adequate black metal rasps, but also (especially later in the album) somewhat Aaskereia-like shrieks, and some sparse clean vocals and grunts.

Is there not a single flaw to this album, then? Well, maybe one could-have-been downside. For Andacht, Lunar Aurora have made use of a drum machine instead of a human drummer (I'm not exactly sure why, as Aran played drums on Zyklus). However, until I bought the actual CD and read the booklet, I didn't even hear they were programmed drums. And as a drummer I'm usually the first to notice them. They sound very natural, very real. So not even this is really a flaw.

All in all this album showed me just what black metal can mean to me if it's done right. For me personally, this truly is the most powerful, most beautiful, most fulfilling black metal album I have ever heard. And it hasn't lost any of its strength since that very first time I discovered its full glory. This is an album that anybody should experience if they are prepared to surrender to it completely.