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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.