Soldat Hans are a doom band from Switzerland and this is their second album.
Es Taut contains 55 minutes of music spread out over three tracks. This is a colossal and ambitious album, one that’s delivered by a band with matching talent, skill, and ability.
With three guitarists, a keyboardist, and guest violin and trombone to enhance the typical core of guitar/bass/drums/vocals, the band have a vibrant and skilful base to work from. And work they do, damn hard, but seemingly effortlessly. This, I’m sure, is probably the way with all masterpieces.
Make no mistake; Es Taut is a masterpiece.
Highly expressive and richly layered, Es Taut takes pride in gradually unfurling its wings as it lazily basks in the sunshine, ready to fly to pastures new. This is an absorbing and multifaceted journey, one which sees the band make stops in doom, post-metal/rock, drone, jazz, experimental, progressive, and folk territories on their way to their final destination. Remember that it’s the journey itself that’s the main thing, of course.
The music is beautiful and majestic, while also being heartachingly gorgeous and luscious. It’s also bleak and haunting, with the band crafting vast and expansive soundscapes that should probably cause anyone with a pulse and who appreciates music with scope, depth, and substance, to sit up straight and eagerly take note.
Es Taut has a kind of soft harshness to it. The heavier aspects of the music, such as the thick distorted guitars or the scathing acidic screams, seem somehow softened by the rich instrumentation that’s wrapped around them, like they’re being slowly suffocated with beauty and nuance, when all they really want to do is tear loose and make a noise. This conundrum of excess and restraint is at the heart of the music on this album, almost like the band are a slimmed back, lean and simplistic extreme doom band that are being slowly enveloped by an experimental, free-form jazz/noise collective. In a way, that’s exactly what’s happening too.
It’s easy, and relevant, to reference heavy-hitters like Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Isis, and Amenra when referring to Soldat Hans. Although valid, there’s more to Es Taut besides these influences. Elements of groups such as Sigur Rós, Crippled Black Phoenix, 5ive, Earth, and Kayo Dot can be heard too, for example.
An impressive and accomplished album, Es Taut has presence and power that’s sometimes restrained, sometimes unleashed, but always effective. Emotively engaging and utterly compelling, Soldat Hans just might be your new favourite band.
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