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A metal journey through the seasons - 92%

BlackMetal213, July 21st, 2015

What a cool concept! Ash, the madman behind the infamous yet legendary black metal act Nargaroth, decided to contribute an album to the black metal world that certainly brought a new idea to the table. "Jahreszeiten" is a concept album that revolves around the idea of the changing of seasons, and is divided into (obviously) four parts, aside from the album's opening track "Prolog" which serves as, you guessed it, the album's prologue. It is an album containing four tracks: "Frühling" (Spring), "Sommer" (Summer), "Herbst" (Autumn), and "Winter."

It's fairly hard not to do a track-by-track review of this album, because it indeed does deserve to be dissected as such and these songs really should be analyzed in depth. But no matter, I will refrain from doing this in my review. The guitars on this album are, of course, the highlight. They are quite repetitive, and the actual songs range from nearly 11 minutes to 22 minutes, excluding the 3-minute album intro. Because of the length of these songs and the repetition, the riffs do indeed get stuck into the listener's head and become hypnotizing in nature. This makes for a very effective black metal album. Interestingly enough, Ash does not consider "Jahreszeiten" to be a black metal album, but rather a "conceptual musical interpretation of the seasons of human love compared to the seasons of the year." The guitars can certainly sound atypical for a black metal album. For example, take the song "Frühling". This is the first song on the album, and represents the season of spring. Musically, this definitely sounds like a "springtime song". The guitar riffs are extremely upbeat, happy-sounding, and even "bouncy". I feel like there is even a poppy aesthetic to this guitar riffing, but that's really not a bad thing here. This is one of the most controversial songs Nargaroth has produced to this date, but it is indeed a very good song, and extremely catchy as well. Although opinions are very shifty with this song, I like it quite a lot. The riffs in each song really invoke feelings that pertain to their assigned seasons, such as the more "hot" sounding riffs in "Sommer", the autumnal misery in "Herbst", and the extremely cold, droning "Winter".

This album is extremely well-produced. It still is raw enough to create an amazing atmosphere, but every instrument is clear and audible, creating a vast array of soundscapes. The drums are varied and are not made of constant blast beats. We hear a lot of "war" tinged drums, such as the once again "bouncy" drum patterns in "Frühling" and the marching drums of "Sommer". In fact, the only blast beats on the album are contained within the epic closing track "Winter". Sure, the drums are not made up mostly of blasts, but they are not really needed during most of the album. We still get a black atmosphere in all of these songs, even during some of the album's more light, happy-sounding parts.

This is an album that radiates a lot of complex feelings and emotions to its listeners, and this makes for a very effective release. It may seem to drag on at times, but really, there is a lot to enjoy here, and it is extremely hypnotic throughout its hour-long runtime. This is not "Herbstleyd" and is definitely not as good as that album. However, it is still amazing, and definitely worth the time of any black metal fan.

The Four Seasons. - 90%

Perplexed_Sjel, February 4th, 2010

A lot has been made of Kanwulf and his exploits. It would seem a lot of people are unhappy with his behaviour both in regards to how he acts outside of the studio, and what he creates within it. Personally, I don’t pay much attention to musicians’ lives unless they come into direct contact with my own. Since I don’t know Kanwulf personally, I don’t particularly care how he acts, or what he says. As long as I’m still enjoying his music, I have no problems. In regards to his entire discography with legendary German band Nargaroth, I have mixed opinions about his career as a whole, though I can certainly pinpoint areas I both like and dislike with relative ease. Looking back over the years, Nargaroth’s pivotal records came in the early stages. I say this with a few records, in particular, springing to mind. First and foremost we have the introductory full-length, ‘Herbstleyd’. Next up we have the similar ‘Geliebte des Regens’. In between these two epics, we have the impressive best of/compilation ‘Amarok’. Besides those few, Nargaroth’s career has been a bit stop-start. The dedication monument that was ‘Black Metal Ist Krieg’ was mostly a joke gone wrong and after 2003, Kanwulf went missing in action.

Skip forward a few years and plenty of uninspired moments and we have arguably his best work to date, ‘Jahreszeiten’, a piece of music which reads like an epic poem which has gone on to inspire millions of would-be writers, if only they possessed an ounce of the talent that poetical releases like this have. As I understand, a lot of people are becoming increasingly disgruntled with Kanwulf’s studio records, despite a visionary depiction of the seasons. Some say he’s lost the plot, whilst others claim he is back with a vengeance. Personally, I believe the latter to be true and ‘Jahreszeiten’ to be a signal that black metal is very much alive and kicking in the modern era. Yes, this sort of concept record is not new and has been done before, but not exactly to the same affect, in my eyes. Take the reception that ‘Frühling’ got, as an example. Some were outraged, whilst others pleasantly surprised that this joke of a man could produce a classic, albeit upbeat, black metal story through one song.

Yes, ‘Frühling’ is indeed upbeat and this very fact has caused people to cry out in disbelief, “An upbeat black metal songs goes against the traditions of the genre!”. Well, perhaps this isn’t a traditional record? In order to survive, one must evolve with the times and this is precisely what Nargaroth are doing. No longer are the public pleased by his incessant jokes and descriptions about how black metal died many years ago. So, instead, why not try something far more productive? Personally, I think songs like ‘Frühling’ are a breath of fresh air to black metal. Bands like Alcest were criticised also for putting a rather romantic spin on the genre, but what’s wrong with that? It isn’t exactly what the genre first had in mind all those moons ago, but things change, including musical genres. Evolution is necessary to survive today and Nargaroth are doing that. ‘Frühling’ takes the season of Spring and gives it a jovial, but cautious voice. The song begins tremendously with the most upbeat black metal riff you’ll ever hear once the opening exchanges have calmed down to allow Spring to bloom and blossom as it does in real life.

People must remember that Spring is the season of new life and when miracles are born each and every day. The song represents this perfectly, playing an upbeat riff over the top of repetitious bass and Kanwulf’s classic vocal styling. His vocals haven’t altered much from day one, so expect much the same in this department. His tormented voice tells the magic of rebirth with a cautious tone and this is also highlighted in how the song alters instrumentally towards the middle when the guitars take a firmer stance on conception. It’s not a game, kids! As Jim’s dad said in American Pie, it’s like bouncing a ball - it can be fun, but you need a partner to play with. Do you want a partner? The levels of repetition can be high in phases of each and every song on the record, but there is still enough variation to discredit the claims that Nargaroth are a one-trick pony. This feeling is extended into all other songs, too, not just the opening season of Spring.

I enjoy the brief samples that begin and end every song. From singing birds, to classic storms, each sample plays its own individual part at heightening the sense of that particular season. Winter is especially effective. With songs like Summer, Kanwulf does an expert job at making the atmosphere sound dense through repetition and spirally guitar riffs which remind me of the sweltering heat throughout both the day and the humid nights. Areas like the bass aren’t exactly stand out areas, but it still manages to affectively back-up the atmosphere created by the guitars. Songs like ‘Sommer’ have thick bass lines during the middle of long riffs to exercise the power of imagery within the listener, who is imagining arid conditions, baking heat and long summer days with beautiful sunsets. The imagery has a habit of changing, as one would expect, as the record progresses through the seasons and on songs like ‘Winter’, the fast paced percussion, which features heavy use of double bass blasts and the tremolo based riffs of the guitars establish a bleak, cold wintry feeling and incoming emotional depression as the days get darker sooner and the weather turns to adverse conditions like ice and snow.

Songs like ‘Winter’ are typically bleak and depict a different sense of emotion to the upbeat beginnings of the record. Kanwulf has put all his experience into this record, using his knowledge to affectively write songs and evoke imagery that throws up connotations of the respective seasons. Each season has its part to play and is emotionally draining. In regards to the song lengths, yes, perhaps they’re a bit too long, but the seasons take a lot of time and effort to depict, especially seasons such as Autumn, as shown on the song here. ‘Herbst’ is especially beautiful, though in a completely different way to the other seasons. Accompanying the lone guitar is another string instrument which perfectly depicts decaying life as the leaves change their colours and slowly die. The samples are also put into good use as the rain falls and thunder draws closer. I myself consider this to be Kanwulf’s finest moment as he inspirationally depicts each season with grace and poise. A wonderful ode to nature.

An ode to a forbiden emotion to our kind - 100%

mpvanriper, December 14th, 2009

Greetings. I have not yet been able to get my hands on a copy, in any format, of this jewel yet; I heard it on an audio file given to me by someone. When I started to hear the first song I told the guy it was funny, it actually cheered me up in a bad day. Then, something happened at home that made me leave for a while, leaving the conversation open so that the rest of the tracks passed. When I returned he had left and all the files where transferred.

I then proceeded to hear the tracks and heard the German spoken intro, which if you really listen to it, you can tell it’s a read out and about something serious, about himself and how he lives the duality of men, reflected within him.

As before, Ash presents us a very personal record; in this case, a slightly twisted but poetically accurate vision about the seasons of love, from start to finish. I think this applies to all kinds of love, with the only exception being, in most cases anyway, parental love. But Ash presents us this piece of art focused on the love for a woman in an extremely sentimental and passionate way.

The factor that I would consider makes this album a black metal record (contrary to whatever anyone says, I really don’t care) is that it all sounds insane, almost psychotic, manic obsessive… like a wacko locked in a padded cell in a madhouse during a nervous crisis. The passion here expressed both lyrically and musically is demented. And I don’t know about you, but I consider dementia to be a primordial ingredient in black metal.

Starting with the spring, a very gentile and sweet, corny song, perfectly describes the feeling of fresh love when one is young and cheerful. Being this obviously compared, as the album title suggest, the seasons of the year. As I said, the first track is the spring, when flowers bloom, and birds sing after a long silence. The same way one feels happy and silly after one’s first kiss. The cheerful melody will give you the idea to play it in a children’s party. I actually imagine a green field with rabbits and cows… and some chickens too... Anyway, after the song really starts it sounds like the soundtrack for a juvenile adventure story, brave and strong, towards the unknown. The song actually progresses as the season does, and so the story as it starts the real journey.

The summer, obviously being a love song due to its warmth, starts with some birds singing and with a heroic harmony, in a cartoonish way, like one feels after a few months of being in love, valiant ahead in the adventure of a relationship, when nobody else exists in the world but one’s lover. It’s a warm song that progresses as summer fades into autumn, and those magical days when the wind blows on your face and the air is more thin, and all the moist goes away, when the sky has more stars at night and not a single cloud can be seen, when your skin is fit and the wind blows away all the smog giving clean air. When you can go up a hill and scream...

The highpoint in the album is in my opinion the last riff in this song. It often gives me watery eyes, for it makes me imagine kissing my own beloved before a landscape at sunset and being so madly in love it’s almost cathartic and you go nuts and do everything and anything for her. The music is melancholic and very rich, emotionally speaking; it catches you instantly and takes you in a trance (unless you are one of those so called “purists” -I call them morons- that don’t understand that black metal, just like any other type of music is art, and art is in truth the expression of the human soul.

Autumn, being almost instrumental, describes the many moments of a decaying relationship, those states of fear of being alone and doubt if it’s still love or if it’s become habit. That time of the year when the leaves turn brown and gray, when all flowers wither. When birds start to flee from the weather, just like friends and acquaintances notice there is something wrong between the lovers, those nasty pointless arguments about nothing that could be really important. Those days in which one longs for solitude but cannot find it because the loved one is always present. When you can never be alone, when one becomes frenetically desperate for no reason and you start looking for a reason to break up. Sad moments looking out the window with darkening storm clouds gathering at the horizon, like the smell of rain before a storm, and the melancholic memory of the summer lurks around endlessly in one’s mind, when you try to mend your mistakes and try, uselessly to meek up with the lover. But you know it’s too late, for the bond of love has already been shattered, and the air grows cold. Expecting the inevitable…

The winter, as one would imagine, is the most “typical” black metal song in the album. There’s not much to say about this song since we all are familiar with the emotional turmoil black metal is supposed to give. In this case it’s extremely deep. Emotionless, rabid and intense. Fast like an emotional blizzard freezing everything it finds along the way. Killing it’s warmth when one turns bitter and angry with regret for past mistakes and being still melancholic and hungry for the arms of the recently deceased love, fading away only with time. It reminds me a bit of some recent Horna tracks, in the sense that leaves you with a sensation of emptiness at the end. This is exactly what happens after one breaks up a relationship after some time of really intense dating… that exquisite feeling of hopelessness… when the catharsis ends in dismay.

This is, in my opinion, the best Nargaroth album ever, and dare I say, it instantly became one of my all time favorites. I also dare to say this is one of the best 5 BM albums of the decade (yeah, go ahead, disagree with me and then shoot me). The only thing I don’t like about it is a small, almost unnoticeable breakdown 5 and a half minutes into the winter, right before the solo, but it’s so tiny it really doesn’t bother me, I mean, one flaw in an ocean of perfection? I'll let it pass.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this, be it in vinyl or CD. I don’t care.
A perfect ode to an often stigmatized emotion for black metalheads. Albums like this are what are able to keep alive that old flame of long lost passion towards a genera of music that long ago got too big for its own good.

I can perfectly understand why those that only care about mindless violent songs about overtly talked about, typical black metal lyrical themes such as raping the virgin and burning churches wouldn’t like this album. I suggest you to grow up a bit and expand your horizons to try to understand the genius behind this work of black art.

Thanks for reading my excessive ranting. I bid you all farewell. Do yourself a favor and buy this. It’s too good to be true.

Black Metal - A (dedication) Monument - 100%

Wargnattallfihrr, December 1st, 2009

I know, this is hard to fully get if you do not speak German: This album is the greatest Nargaroth-release of all time. Said this, there’s another thing you must know. If you liked “Prosatanica Shooting Angels” most, which was most unlikely of Nargaroth’s style, you won’t get any access to this one here. To all others: I’d recommend searching for the booklet in a language you understand, has German, English, French and Spanish.

Now, let us get to the point. “Jahreszeiten” is not only an album, it is the conceptual sum of every Nargaroth release until now (except “Prosatanica”), it is a neoclassical approach to the well known topic of seasons and it illustrates four different states of emotion. The core topic of this album is the latter. The emotions described are the different states of a love story, so I interpret this album as the declaration of love to a dying scene, which is not the only point though.

The problem anyone who doesn’t speak German will have is not to understand the “Introduction”. Ash reads out a text which is a mixture of some parts of his book “Between the Stones” and some protocols written about him. The point to the text is the emotional disruption of being a part of oneself and not being able to escape. It is the tightrope walk between being a complete misanthrope or socially caring, it is about killing oneself or to infect everyone with life. In a whole it sums up quite a lot of different feelings, which belong together, although being completely opposite. A brilliant start to an album, which does the same thing. Ash’s voice is very calm and intense, so that you can feel that he is speaking about himself and, interestingly, to everyone who is able to feel this, too.

Starting off with the first real track, “Frühling” (spring), I was shaken by the happy mood, which is to be found in the beginning. All right, the song is kinda cheesy,but if you consider the topic, it is really well played out. The melody, which some of you might consider being too happy, will stick in your ears, believe me. Also there is a lot of sadness in this song, represented by the middle part.

“Sommer” is a song of intense heat, manifested in a high whir of the guitars and the synths in the background. It is nice to listen to, because of its variety in songwriting and atmosphere, where some parallels to “Herbstleyd” (I mean the full-length) and “Geliebte des Regens” are undeniable. There is not much to say about this song without overdoing the talking. Listen to it; you will get the impression of the inexorable summer with all its pros and cons.

“Herbst” is worth some description again, because to me it is the best Nargaroth-song written. Starting off with the (synth-based I guess) cello, which plays a sad melody followed by guitar lines of the like, there are eight minutes of pure anguish and despair cloaked in infinite sadness. When the vocals set in, the song speeds up a bit yet is still very beautiful. The big surprise waits at about sixteen minutes: Ash sings, as he only did on “Amarok – Zorn des Lammes III” (to be found on “Black Metal ist Krieg”). He sings beautifully on top of a riff, which combines the one of the last mentioned song and of “I Got My Dead Man Sleep” (to be found on “Semper Fi”) together. It is the most intense point of the album, of timeless beauty and sad poetry.

“Winter” quotes Immortal, the so-called “Sons of Northern Darkness”, as Ash already once did (in “Erik, May You Rape the Angels” on “Black Metal ist Krieg”). This song could have been released in the “Battles in the North” days, although towards the end it leaves the raging speed and the thin sound to walk a more melodic and sad path. In here there are to be found the structures that most acceptably fit into the scheme of black metal. It was important to the concept of the album to close with a song as harsh and merciless like this one.

There is the pressing need to post a monument for Erebor, the best drummer Nargaroth ever had. He is able to play a precise yet driving rhythm without any flaws or the danger of being boring. The technical skills presented here might not get him a lot of invitations by bands who play technical death metal, but are a lot more than 95 per cent of the black metal drummers own. You will have to give it a listen for yourself, it cannot be described as good, as it can be felt or heard.

I recommend this album to everyone who is into atmospheric, intelligent black metal without any bombast or pomp. The very good production (especially of the drums) and the recognizable professionalism of the musicians might scare away those garage-only guys. I do not think Ash gives a damn. This is his masterpiece.

Good ideas here and there, but too repetitive - 40%

SwedishRawPower, November 28th, 2009

This is Nargaroth's 6th full-length, following Semper Fidelis which was released in 2007. My former experiences with this band only includes Black Metal Ist Krieg, which I thought was a quite decent album, but not much more than so. This album is based on the seasons of the year and the songs reflects the seasons mood. Logically they are named (translated from german) Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

The first track is just a three-minute german spoken-word intro and then it kicks off with Spring (Frühling) which is a real surprise for people who are used to Nargaroth's angry, grim style since this is a song that actually is very happy and in some places it sounds almost like a football chant.
The next song, Summer (Sommer) starts with a melody that sounds quite classically-inspired and then goes into sounding more like traditional black metal, although this song isn't happy as the former, it's not really all that evil either, it nearly has a nostalgic feel in some ways.

Autumn (Herbst) goes in a more melancholic style and features some acoustic guitar which fits the mood of the season. The last season and the last song, Winter, returns to the more traditional Nargaroth-sound and starts with a more evil-sounding riff and a blastbeat in the background.

This is a experiment that could go very well if it was done in the right way but unfortunately it didn't. The biggest problem with this album is that it's insanely boring! You can't listen to a song more than five minutes without getting bored and that's a really big problem since all the songs are over ten minutes, with Autumn (Herbst) clocking in at 21:58. Like many other black metal-releases it's also very repetitive, which is a really bad combination. The repetitiveness is probably Burzum's fault since many have copied Vargs' formula over the years, though Burzum was the only band that ever did it good. This just sounds forced. Yes, the album has some really good melodies here and there but it just doesn't click with me. Also the vocals are extremely annoying and Kanwulf seems to stay on the same note the whole time.

Corny, but not all bad - 60%

autothrall, November 19th, 2009

Nargaroth is perhaps best known for having titles like "Black Metal Ist Krieg" or "Fuck Off Nowadays Black Metal", but in truth the career of Kanwulf has been quite serious and the band has released some decent wok like Prosatanica Shooting Angels. Jahreszeiten is the 6th full length of Nargaroth and I had a mixed reaction. There is a very corny anthemic feel to many of the riffs on the album that caused me to lose interest, but some of the songs do build to a satisfactory finish.

Jahreszeiten consists of only 5 tracks but it's over an hour of playtime. "Prolog" is an ambient intro with some German spoken word, and "Frühling" is the first proper track with some flangy guitars that create a pompous, 'proud' sounding melodic riff that felt quite silly. Once the riff changes near the middle of the track, it does improve. "Sommer" opens with some classical electric guitar work that shifts to Kanwulf's bloodcurdling snarls over some other classically influenced patterns. It's folkish, martial and demented sounding. "Herbst" is a little more depressive, but features everything from acoustics to spacy synths, and despite its 22 minutes of length, one of the better tracks on the album. "Winter" is a scorcher with full drum battery and didn't lose me even after 16 minutes.

The album is hissing and raw sounding enough to occasionally hurt your brain, but this would not be a problem for many black metal listeners. The bass playing is caustic beneath the streams of melodic guitar, and Kanwulf sounds suitably rasp and hostile in his vocal delivery. I didn't care for the album up until the last 40 minutes (last two songs) which were a major improvement that brought me around to what I enjoyed about some of his past records. "Frühling" and "Sommer" felt a little cheesy to me, though I admit that this rather pompous style of traditional melody is not something you hear all the time.


Nargaroth - Jahreszeiten - 94%

Avestriel, September 27th, 2009

Fucking finally, am I right? This album was supposed to be released first thing in June or July, I forget, but after only a single was released and no news were heard about the destiny of this album, I completely forgot about it, until suddenly I received news that it had been released mid-September, so I immediately set to listen to it, and here we are, writing a review for it. So, what's to expect from this album? I tell you what: The best damn thing Ash previously known as Kanwulf has done since the Raslukas and Geliebte. Most likely this is even better than those.

Hell, the album starts with a spoken intro quite reminiscent of the Raslukas. Then, after that's done and gone, guess what happens? The song which bears the title Spring (in german obviously) starts, and what do you know! It's a fucking happy song! Holy shit! This song really captures the spirit of what Spring is meant to be, the renewal of life, love and all things good, which one would obviously assume has jackshit to do with black metal, but hey, Ash seamlessly summed up those extremely positive feelings and turned them into an exceptionally great black metal song. Holy crap! I'm sorry, I'm really excited about this, the riffing is just so jumpy and cheerful it makes me want to dance. Of course, and since the song is over ten minutes long (every song except the intro is, one of them being over 20 minutes long), there's enough room for the classical, dark and gloomy Nargaroth riffage, but that doesn't take the perfectly portrayed spirit of Spring away from this song.

And now I'll take a moment to mention something universal to all songs and that has gone through huge improvements: The drumming. You wanted boring, repetitive drumming stuck in either second or fifth gear? Well look somewhere else, because these drums are as varied as they come. Bass-snare mid-tempo rhythms? We've got 'em! Relentless blastbeats? Hell yeah, and then there's a seemingly neverending alternation of doublebass with irregular drumming patterns, some even extremely dance-y (see previous statement about wanting to dance), and the sound is excellent, the best sound I've heard from a Nargaroth album.

As anyone who doesn't live under a stone 24/7 would figure, Summer follows after Spring is done with it's cheerfulness, and the first thing to greet us is the previously unheard sound of... an extremely melodic and romantic intro complete with solos? WHOA! I need to move to Vietnam, it obviously does great things to musical inspiration. Man! This is borderline Power Metal! Ok, ok, don't get scared it's nothing like that but I'm so excited words spew out of my mouth (fingers) without control. Anyway this extremely melodic intro (for black metal anyway) stretches a few minutes before a proper black metal song starts to show its head. This time the song follows a 3/4 suite, which feels like a grim waltz in celebration of the warmth of summer, again, not very typical in black metal and yet so, so fitting for the black metal sound. The levels of sophistication within the melodies of this song are worthy of great raw-but-melodic bands like Taake and Peste Noire, just to mention a couple. Once you finish getting your Victorian clothes on and are about to join the dance, the song changes into the more regular 4/4 rhythm, which brings back the awesome grimness and melancholic glory of the trademark Nargaroth sound (what can I say? I too get melancholic during summers. Melancholic and sweaty, which if you ask me fits this song perfectly), all the while the bass... The bass?

It's only then when I notice the bass. Oh! How wonderful, I tell you. Finally some bass from Ash? And hey, it follows it's own melody! So. We're right in the middle of the song when the drumming changes to something akin to a classic rock band with extra love for double bass drums, while riffs keep doing what they know best, repetitive but addictive melodies which pretty much only change in pitch and not structure.

The song continues without many surprises aside from the wonderful, I'd say almost heroic and inspirational melodies and crazy drumming which keeps changing and changing.

Enter Autumn, the longest song on this album, clocking at 21:58 minutes, with a clean and pretty sad intro, which even though is something you don't hear ofter (especially in the last few years) from our friend Kanwulf, but it's kinda something to expect when the usual imagery for this season is of melancholic and lifeless landscapes. I can hear something that is in no way new to this band, which is samples of rain, but then I hear something that I'm pretty sure is a cello and I rest assured every song will have something new that will make me smile like an idiot in pleasant surprise. So this intro stretches for about two minutes, when the guitars and drums come to break the trance in which I was left. The cello goes on in the background, creating what is probably the most beautifully sad moment in the whole history of the band, I kid you not, this is like a soundtrack for a movie about sad people in a brown-leaved forest. This song is predominantly slow and low, with the cellos taking the central part of the music most of the time. It's at this moment that I think to myself maybe Kanwulf took not only the idea for this album from Vivaldi but may have taken some inspiration from his music. Not much though, but that cello is indeed a nice, classy detail. The clean guitars make sporadic reappearances all along the song, which helps to keep the melancholy at top force for as long as possible. This is definitely the saddest song on this album, being extremely slow at times, and becoming increasingly slow as the song reaches its half, which is when the more aggressive but still melancholic part of the song starts. Drums definitely have some great shining moments, from the deeply echoing toms to the crisp and playful cymbals, the drumming takes the cake most of the song. And then when you think you cannot be surprised again by this album, clean vocals! And very well done ones at that! Kanwulf has quite a nice singing voice, reeking of sadness and memories of times long gone, I'd say. Kinda reminds me of the better moments of Tilo Wolf (am I being racist by comparing all non-operatic german male singers to Tilo Wolf?). The song culminates with an atypical, almost rockish riff which is engulfed by the drums (especially the quite loud double bass) and finish with a sample of wind and some church bells, fabricating images of cemeteries and grief in my mind. Oh yes.

Finally, the song that everyone would be waiting to listen to if we all hadn't listened to it already, sort of, I'm talking about Winter, the soul of black metal and the grand finale of a thoroughly amazing album. This song has the most grim and evil riffing off the entire album, and how could this be any other way! This is fucking Vinter we're talking about here, this is fucking black metal. This song, and I hope my memory is not fucking with me because of my excitement, is the only one to feature blast beats (don't let that turn you off, after reading this whole thing you should be more than convinced that this is an exceptional album!) and to be honest, on one side it's the only song where they fit, and on the other side, it's the only song that needs them. The amazingly simple and yet overwhelmingly cold riff drones for quite a few minutes while blastbeats destroy everything in their path, creating the ultimate misanthropic black metal anthem, something Kanwulf could only dream of creating while he was working on that despicable piece of garbage also known as Black Metal Ist Krieg. He really nailed it now, at unimaginable levels. The tremolos, the powerchords, the short silences and sudden bursts, the ambiance, the coldness, the blackness, it's all here in a 16 minute long black metal epic musical poem. About a third of the song goes by with it's relentless black metal attack when we enter a mid-paced section, which includes a really nice, simple (yet not so simple) and elegant solo, which thankfully stretches for a few minutes before fading away into obscurity. The slowness is over as quick as it started, though, and we go to what could be called part three (or maybe four depending on how you see it) of the song. Mid-to-fast-paced drumming and a constant double bass keep the rhythm while riffs crisscross your ears, guided by Kanwulf's shrieks, which seem more emotional in this song than ever before. Of course the song could not exist without some samples from snowstorms and wolves. The initial riff makes an appearance near the end of the song, but this time with slow-paced, constantly varying drumming, until blastbeats and a parade of fucking fast doublebass drumming followed by more snowstorm sounds and what seems to be the continuation of the prelude (spoken part) end the song definitely, which gives it an excellent closure. And lo and behold! Before you can think "what the hell just happened!?" the album is over and you jizzed in your pants countless times (sorry for the mental image).

I almost forgot to mention that while it's obviously a conceptual album, and each song is a "chapter", each song is on itself divided in several "movements", which helps keep things interesting. And as I mentioned, each song has samples of something that is meant to be found on each season, Spring has birds chirping all happy and dandy, Summer has crickets and what I believe to be cicadas, Autumn has rain and wolves (well, the wolves are just an extra detail, I don't think wolves only howl during the Autumn) and Winter has the classic snowstorm sounds. And wolves. That's just lovely if you ask me. I can only wonder what the lyrics say, though.

So yeah, this album surprised me, excited me and made me happy in ways I would have never EVER expected from Nargaroth, I mean I think this is my longest review ever, and I've written reviews for albums I like much much more than this one, so let me get it all out so I can get going:

Holy fucking shit!!!

Thanks. But before I go, the downer: The only negative thing about this album is that it came to play a tad too late. This should have been the immediate follower to Rasluka I, instead of us having to wait five years and a bunch of mediocre releases to enjoy another giant masterpiece from German/Vietnamese maniac Kanw- er.. Ash. Can you say "instant classic"? By all means, CHECK THIS OUT NOW.

Originally written for the paper version of the Terror Cult Zine