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Tatkraft - Sic semper tyrannis - 89%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 16th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Nebelfee Klangwerke

Sometimes it seems as if every second fella from Germany got his own black metal band or project. I won’t complain too much though as long as the quality is kept on a certain level and the stream of great and interesting music is not going to stop anytime soon. Another of my latest discoveries is the project Tatkraft, which as far as I understood is driven by one person. The fantastic artwork might give a first hint what to expect, and while the debut full length “Sic semper tyrannis” offers a lot of well-known elements there are a few surprises and some really nice enhancements to the formula.

The first thing I came to notice is the pretty raw and basic nature of the sound. The production screams early nineties, with especially the drums having this typical slightly steely tone, with the hi-hats offering a toxic and hissing signature. The guitar work is excellent, and the often monotonous and stoic main chords are accompanied by some very memorable lead harmonies. There are not so many typical tremolo passages like we might used to see on similar records, more single accords which have been chosen with care.

The tempo is often pretty slow for that kind of music, with not many blast-beats or up-tempo passages, so fans of fast and catchy music might be better off looking somewhere else. The feel of the music can become rather hostile and misanthropic, which is well compensated by the melancholy emitted from the other side. This is ceremonial black metal standing on its own as a hypnotic, captivating and ritual experience. Ritualistic guitar chords work as counter harmony to the prominent shrieking of the vocals, mixed into the foreground to act as one of the main driving factors here.

Beside the dwelling guitar harmonies and the raw and angry vocals it is the songwriting which stands out. The album consists of seven hymns of darkness (plus intro, outro and an instrumental), and each of those has its very own character. Skipping through the records one might get the impression that all sound a bit samey, and while this is true to a certain extent careful listens will give rise to some great moments. At its best “Sic semper tyrannis” will make you feel being swept away by the frosty winds of icy battlefields, howling through marrow and leg.

Like mentioned above the sound is rough and dirty, but this is part of the concept and works in this context. To me this album is a breath of fresh air, as it is not overly technical or complex and not experimental in any sense. This is just pure and simple black metal, played with a lot of passion for the genre for fans of this kind of music. While most certainly not perfect this band and album deserve some attention, so head over to their page and grab a copy of this nice little gem.