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Teufelskreise - 42%

Memnarch, March 17th, 2011

'Atmospheric' is one of those tags that many bands seem to get categorized with, more often than not solely due to the lyrical themes and even album cover alone at times. It's a tricky type of sound to achieve, when it's executed right it can be extraordinary, but more often than not when it boils down to it, it's no more than a group of chancers trying to pass off repetitive minimal tremolo riffing and vocals slapped with a huge dose of reverb as cold, frostbite inducing black metal. When in truth it's not, and is the category that Wald Geist Winter fall into.

Teufelskreise is their debut, and is thirty three minutes of middle of the road raw black metal bearing a passing resemblance to the second wave Norwegian scene with some elements of DSBM thrown in for good measure. The musicianship itself isn't actually too bad, the drumming is tight enough if slightly repetitive and the vocals par for the course with much of this type of music, alternating between a Dakrthrone-esque croak and something that wouldn't be out of place on a Xasthur album. It's the guitar work and shallow production which are the cause of much of Teufelskreise's shortcomings. The guitar work itself is weak and without any real substance, monotonous and lacks any sort of presence, and at times falls remarkably in and out of tune and as a result is severely jarring. The riffing in general is just flat out forgettable, not helped by the poor tinny production. The album might as well be one thirty three minute song split up into seven parts, because they all sound exactly the same and follow exactly the same formula.

Where Wald Geist Winter go next remains to be seen, but if they're to make any sort of headway onto better pastures they could do with some fresh inspiration, for Teufelskreise doesn't contain any unique elements whatsoever to make it stand out from the thousands of other bands peddling the same thing. One of those albums you put away into your CD rack and find a year or two later and think “Oh, I forgot I even had that”. Must try harder.