Rauhnåcht – Urzeitgeist (Review)

RauhnachtThis is Austrian Black Metal played with style and fervour.

Harking back to the glory days of the cream of the second wave of Black Metal, Rauhnåcht evoke the same feelings of mystical grandeur that bands like Emperor and Gehenna were so good at playing back in the 90’s.

The cold Black guitars are accentuated with keyboards that are obvious enough to help steer the songs but subtle enough to not be overwhelming. They provide an intoxicating accompaniment to the other instruments.

The songs charge, stalk, slash or prowl through their playing time, depending on the kind of mood the band are going for. Rauhnåcht seem perfectly willing and capable to excel at either fast or slow sections, usually both and everything in-between during the space of a song. Due to this the shortest song is 5:56, (Urzeitgeist), and the longest is 10:08, (Rauhnachtskind).

Vocals hiss like corrosive steam escaping from a vent, reminding me of the vocalist of Naglfar in their delivery. Subdued cleans also make an appearance at select moments and these are not over-used.

I really enjoyed this album. Along with the recent release from Akrotheism this has made me very happy that there are bands out there still doing this style of non-symphonic atmospheric Black Metal and doing it really, really well.

Treat yourself to this.

Akrotheism – Behold the Son of Plagues (Review)

AkrotheismThis is the début album by Greek Black Metallers Akrotheism.

For their introductory track Sepsis Ex Nihilo Akrotheism show that they have the standard slithering, creepy guitar tone down to rights, but add to this with all manner of Hellish noises and effects. After this we have hyperblast Black Metal with maniacal vocals that sound straight out of a nightmare.

The singer alternates between ultra-high pitch screeches and deeper Blackened bellowing. The juxtaposition works wonders and the aggression is ramped up to 11.

The music is largely presented at breakneck speeds and is surprisingly atmospheric in places, aided as it is by a healthy dark melodicism and subtler highlights in their arsenal of grim delights.

Taking the most aggressive parts of the razor sharp delivery of the best of the mid-90’s Black Metal elite, Akrotheism combine elements of Emperor, Gehenna and Cradle of Filth to produce Behold the Son of Plagues. Second wave bands such as these have a special place in my heart and Akrotheism have produced an album that works wonders with these base influences.

Black Metal these days seems to mostly consist of the ultra-cold and minimal variety, or highly symphonic, or off exploring pastures new and only use Black Metal as their starting point; bands that combine aggression with atmosphere in a non-symphonic way appear to be quite few and far between, which is another reason that Akrotheism are so damn good.

An exceptional album, especially for a début. Akrotheism play a form of Black Metal that makes me recall past glories with a nostalgic fondness, but that also allows me to look forward to the future with a content heart as I know that the style is in good hands. Top work.