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What the hell - 70%

Mealann, December 4th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Ván Records (Reissue, Remastered)

This is one of the releases you either love or hate. Grouped with bands like Lunar Aurora and The Ruins of Beverast, one is obliged to pay them a closer attention. A quick glimpse is enough to realize what makes them similar. They are from Aachen, used to play live with Alexander von Meilenwald and their song themes are very similar to those of Lunar Aurora. Nightly, creepy tales, full of monsters and mythical creatures. This sets up certain expectations, to which this album both does and does not live up.

Let's begin with repetition rate. Generally in music, the shorter the repetition phase, the more trancy and hypnotic the composition. Progressive tracks base on hardly any repetition. Music in general repeats bars of four chords. Club EDM tunes repeat short motives of three to four notes. So does Verdunkeln. Comparisons to sounds of operating washing machine reflect exactly this type of metal.

Now texture. Four elements stand out in the mix. One is murky acoustic guitar, whose sound feels like raven claws or of some other dark fairytale creature. Set in high reverberation, it alone creates a whirlwind of hypnotic blackness, which is an achievement. Two is distorted guitar. Very hissy and buried below element three: drums. If anyone thinks Burzum tracks contain simple drumming, here is a challenge. These are utterly simple and often out of phase. Mixed very loudly, they only add up to the repetitive, hypnotic atmosphere. Four is vocals. Once again, weird reverb setup makes them spill all around the track whenever a growl or a shriek happens. They are the only factor that distracts the repetition. In short, everything about this album feels off. Whatever element of sound or composition you pay attention to, it feels like nothing you've heard before.

The most memorable elements on this album happen to be second parts of "Blutrunst" and "Trümmer". Well executed and powerful motives that enlarge the repetition phase a bit and feel like unveiling of some higher order in between the constantly maintained tension.

Then of course there is "Einst war es mal..." - the essential track of this entire release. Listeners compare it to black metal gym music, as it is based on a constant loop of "Blur - Song 2" drums and a similarly rocking riff. The composition never unveils. When it ends abruptly, there is this feeling of great confusion.

Just like now.