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Geist ist Teufel - 75%

Mannaz _Musikal Moloch, March 22nd, 2018
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Terratur Possessions (Reissue, Limited edition)

"Geist ist Teufel", as their first full-length album, demonstrates the continuation as well as the advancement of Urfaust's unique dark and eerie sound from the previously released demo “Urväterlicher Sagen”. It seems like Urfaust is still experimenting, trying to find a main style and thereby combining old material and ideas with new ones. Though you have to say, that they did a great step towards a coherent and comprehensive message and managed to combine especially their exceptional style of clean and ceremonious vocals, consisting a range from mourning over grief-stricken to sinister, with the typical raw elements of 90's black metal. Additional to the already known dark ambient songs, which were retitled and used on the album again, Urfaust is using now, indeed a bass-lacking and minimalistic, but typical band line-up consisting vocals, guitar and drums. Admittedly the drums aren't very challenging in tempo, but driven by this monotone, groovy and partly still varied style of playing the hypnotic atmosphere intensifies greatly.

The production is more as acceptable, but sometimes you can hear an overdrive within the vocals. Not in a particularly bad way, but you can interpret in it, that probably the microphone or the recording equipment is reaching their acoustic limit. If you regard this aspect embed into the album, it creates an own kind of charm and is in my opinion typical for these kind of records. All in all not amateurish, but also not extraordinary. Retrospectively, referring to “Urväterlicher Sagen”, it is still not possible to understand the lyrics or even to distinguish if its Dutch or German, not because of a poor audio quality, but because of the style of singing. Additionally to the opera-like style of vocals, they using now also screams sounding like if he is racked with pain. It reminds me of a torture victim and though they seem very raw and refer more to screaming in the traditional meaning than the singing skill, they fit into the rhythm and are well placed. Their musical implementation of desperation is very impressive.

The guitar represent the classic chainsaw-like sound of 90's black metal, but stays most of the album in the background as an intensifying instrument for the repetitive arrangement. It sounds also not very progressive. In my eyes it seems they are using it just particularly as an leading instrument, but mostly as an acoustic carrier for the extraordinary vocals. An exemplary exception for this aspect is “Drudenfuß” with its strongly present guitar and its solo. Also referring to that song is symbolic for the structure of the album. It builds up and ends in a dark, desperate and sinister atmosphere, but in the middle of it, it just changes over into that major-scaled and folksy song. Admittedly, it got some good attempts for an evil sound, but all in all I don't see any good reason to use such an instrumentation, key and arrangement on an album in such a genre. It does create a contrast, but in my eyes it got more a negative aspect than an innovative one.

Regarded as a whole, the album fit mostly into a conclusive frame and is definitely a great and interesting contribution to music with its dark and desperate sound. The main substance of the typical Urfaust music is becoming more comprehensible for the listener and the band is getting a main direction.

Dutch Masterclass. - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, June 27th, 2006

Urfaust are slowly, but surely becoming a band who require no introduction. Hailing from The Netherlands, otherwise known as Holland, Urfaust have exploded onto the scene with this undisputed classic of an album. Often when one is reviewing an album, one tends to state how much of a unique released the title is, well in this case that is certainly true and not a cliché whatsoever. If anything, cliché would be the last word used to describe this exquisite band. Urfaust's debut album, entitled "Geist ist Teuful" was released in the summer of 2004. It contains six tracks which span over a period of just under fifty minutes.

It has been well documented in the past, and undoubtedly will be in the future that Urfaust's leading man, Willem uses some of the most unique and awe-inspiring vocals to grace the Black Metal scene. Urfaust blend Raw Black Metal, with a touch of clean vocals. This was totally unexpected, and a shock to the system of first listen. However, the vocals are intoxicating to say the least. Willem blends an innovative style of clean vocals with the use of a more orthodox Black Metal screaming. Urfaust can be described as "raw" due to the highly distorted guitars and haunting screams of Willem, but also because of it's unique eerie atmospheric production. Urfaust ring out at a mid-paced tempo, never a faster pace than that which is perfect for the style Urfaust play. Drum patterns tend to be quite basic and repetitive, which essentially creates a specific type of atmosphere. On occasions the repetitiveness adds to the atmosphere and thus enhances the overall sound of the music. The vocals, as already stated are of extreme importance. They make the music what it is. Willem's vocals are emotive and portray a sense of pain and desperation, which compliments the music to an extent you wouldn't believe. I'd go as far to say that these are some of the best vocals you're likely to hear. The bass is often drown out, but still has its moments in enhancing the affect of the music in general on the listener. However simplistic this may be, it is exceptionally good and certainly worth at least a listen.

Highlight tracks include: Die Kalt Teufelsfaust and Auszug Aller Todlich Seinen Krafte, especially the latter.