Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten actually saw the light of day back in March, but I’ve been listening to it a lot and I just had to give it the attention it deserves with a review. I’ve enjoyed Unru’s work for a while, (check out the band’s 2014 split with Paramnesia and their 2016 debut album Als Tier ist der Mensch Nichts), but this new one is a different beast. The Unru of 2022 have crafted their most expansive, ambitious, and affecting work yet.
This is an album of great variety and depth. Every song is an individual, and showcases a different facet of Unru’s complex makeup. Of course, they all share influences and sounds, but each is unmistakably its own master.
The luscious ambience of Kråkstad is completely immersive, and opens the album with a breathtaking beauty that’s hard to ignore. This is then followed by the succinct tornado of violence of the title track, which displays the band’s crusty blackened aggression in very favourable terms.
Der Hauch der Freiheit and Hungersteine are the main companion pieces of the album, complementing each other perfectly, making for almost 30 minutes of atmospheric black metal bliss when taken together. Der Hauch der Freiheit is an atmospheric powerhouse that gets me swaying in a hypnotic trance every time I listen to it. It’s one of my favourites, and it’s mournful symphonic heights are almost unassailable. Hungersteine is the longest track and displays a patient building of atmospheric resplendence that’s captivating. Like its predecessor, there is a powerful despondent beauty here, only this time it’s revealed by an increased post-black metal palette alongside the symphonic one.
Closer Eintausend Stimmen finds Unru revisiting their harsher side more thoroughly, with a more traditional take on black metal that’s nonetheless icily vibrant, absorbingly atmospheric, and endlessly listenable.
Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten is shockingly good. Unru have created a 55-minute masterpiece of black metal, and I urge you to visit this essential album and partake of its dark waters.