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January 2017

Song of the day: Kontinuum – Red Stream

2015 was a very intersting year for me in terms of new bands and styles that I discovered.

One of these discoveries is the band Kontinuum from Iceland, with which I got into touch alongside Agent Fresco.

Kontinuum’s album Kyrr hit me at the right time, I guess. Their melancholic yet powerful rock/metal music means a lot to me since then, and besides the musicianship and the overall feeling to the music I particularly like the vocals, which sometimes remind me in a good way of Depeche Mode.

But listen for yourself:

Review: Animo Aeger – KotzeAdel

KotzeAdel is the third full-length album released by the Berlin black metal project Animo Aeger masterminded by Gråsjäl, who is currently also active in Cruda Sorte and might be known to connoisseurs of the Berlin black metal underground by having been part of acts like Misanthropic Path and Avsked.

While the last full-length Storchenwahrheit,-wirklichkeit was released in 2014 by ERK on tape and presented material from 2009, the band now found a bigger label in Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions from Berlin and actually released new material, recorded in 2015.

If you are familiar with Animo Aeger’s previous outputs (especially Fieber and Storchenwahrheit, -wirklichkeit) as well as the other current projects of its main protagonist, you might already have an idea of what to expect – and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, I suppose.

The album contains 7 tracks, of which 2 are instrumental tracks (T r a m s and Kosmenhort), while the remaining songs have highly varying lengths of 3 to almost 9 minutes. The lyrics are in German and are strange as always, reflecting the author’s intention of setting madness to music in the same way as the vocals do. To some extent, this is already observable in the album’s title, which roughly translates to “PukeNobility”, while there also are several song titles and parts of the lyrics that have aspects of social criticism, for example Die Hochkonjunktur des WENN als WANN (“The Prosperity of IF as WHEN”) and the lyrics of Allein im Schlick (“Alone in the Ooze”).

With respect to the music, Animo Aeger basically stay true to the sound they developed on the last outputs, being mainly melodic and highly variable black metal, from time to time showing slight rock and ambient influences. This general variability and all of the rhythmic changes are perfectly accompanied and even accentuated by the precise drumming of M. Greis. The overall sound is powerful yet very warm, organic, and transparent, in particular for a black metal record. While their style has something unique and experimental, I wouldn’t go so far and label them as “progressive” or “avant-garde”. But I’m not good with labels, anyway.

The most outstanding and puzzling as well as potentially off-putting to some listeners are the vocals. To me, Gråsjäl’s vocal performance simply is amazing and highly impressive, as it contributes to a huge extent to the atmosphere and emotional depth of the songs. His style ranges from deep growls and shouts over shrieks (while some of them were contributed by his drummer, M. Greis) to clean, whispered, and spoken passages. The latter three are often performed in a maniacal, insane way, often occurring together or in interplay with growls, shouts, and shrieks. In effect, they often dominate the happenings and force the listener’s attention towards them. Several listeners, especially those not accustomed to such variable clean vocals, may find the mixture of these styles a little off-putting. But I can assure you that they make sense in their strange and sometimes creepy way, and it’s worth embracing them as they are a necessary means to the depths of this album.

All in all, this album is the most compact and coherent output Animo Aeger have released so far and I highly appreciate this development. There are many things to discover on this record and I highly recommend giving it a try. I particularly like the addition of piano passages, the positive development regarding sound and mix as well as the vocal arrangements, including their emotionality.

The only negative aspect for me is: 38 minutes and 30 seconds just weren’t sufficient for me, I guess I need more. But if everything works out properly, there soon will be!

(This review also has been published in German for www.stormbringer.at)

Ghost Brigade – A Storm Inside

Ghost Brigade have been a steady, reliable, and important companion of mine since 2013, when their music had the most impact on me as I was stumbling along in a struggle with myself.

Since then, even though other bands and music in general crossed my path with higher intensity, I often hark back to these times. And I always enjoy these listenings that evoke streams of reminiscences from this painful yet positively intense period, which was rich in insight.

I could have chosen most of their songs from Isolation Songs and Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, but after today’s reflections I think A Storm Inside is most representative of this former period.

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