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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, Nargaroth.de 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.