1. Nargaroth – Erik, May You Rape the Angels
Let the German Theme Week commence! First one is the most obvious choice – Nargaroth! Not releasing anything worth attention after the first two albums, Nargaroth remains the textbook example of the band concentrating too much on being trve kvlt rather than the music itself. I think that both Harbstleyd and Black Metal ist Krieg are one of the best black metal albums in general, perfectly captivating the genre spirit. The band is also very good live, giving you the real feeling of black metal. However, as I said, it is a shame that we didn’t experience anything as good as the first records which for me, stand for German scene as a Dedication Monument of legacy. The song Erik, May You Rape the Angels is devoted to Erik ‘Grim’ Brødreskift, the Bergen’s recognized musician who died in 1999.
2. Ascension – Grant Me Light
I have made myself familiar with Ascension quite recently after my friend had recommended this band to me. The mysterious aura of Ascension is incomparable with anything. Consolamentum is definitely my favourite opus from the band’s creative work. Incorporating powerful blasts and atmospheric slow passages, it is a great record which certainly has given the band recognition in the black metal underground. I just now need to see them live to ensure that the mystic feel does not get lost in the performance.
3. ColdWorld – Suicide
This is actually one of my favourite melancholic tracks which always makes me feel like going somewhere far away and staying there for long. Although spring unwinds now, and winter is the best time for listening to ColdWorld, I can listen to this all year long. It is the best dark ambient you can get out there. No wonder everyone is so impatient about new album from Herr Börner which is, I believe, in the process of creation. ColdWorld has once changed my life and it made me happy to see how it was changing other people’s lives around me. Hence my emotional approach to the project. Suicide is a piece of art, not a song, which can easily get you into the state of oblivion. Beautiful.
4. Nyktalgia– Cold Void
Staying in the depressive spirit, I am giving you the mighty Nyktalgia! It is for me, one of the most inspirational German DSBM creations ever made. Classic sound, classic vocals and brilliant riff… What else would you want more? You can certainly feel the night pain in the track which, against all appearances, is quite difficult to achieve in DSBM.
‘On a transparent way, I float much more away, without any sight.
Am I blind, or am I still alive?
And once again, I only sense the purest absence.
A wound like this, cannot be healed anymore…’
5.Falkenbach– The Heralder
All hail the heathen tribe!!! Different side of the German music now. Falkenbach is one of the oldest folk/viking metal bands and one of the first which managed to recreate the magnificent heathen atmosphere in the metal music. The Heralder has always remained for me an incredibly catchy track. Falkenbach’s author, Vratyas Vakyas, has created several great albums, and the latest one – Asa, is definitely worth recommending. The project has been faithful to its roots throughout and this is what makes Falkenbach a genuine piece of heathen art.
6. Katharsis– Painlike Paradise
Another obvious choice for the German week. The overwhelming raw atmosphere of Katharsis has always somehow been a definition of the German sound for me. Kruzifixxion must be my favourite release of the group. I really do hope for another great album!
7. Abhorrent Castigation – The Tree of Knowledge
How about some brutal death metal for a change? Abhorrent Castigation! I must say that I am not a huge fan of that sort of tunes however, this German outfit somehow appealed to me. Check them out! With one full-length album, they are certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Permafrost’s new album, Spiritual Isolation, has quickly grown on me this week. Reminding me the likes of Endstille, the album is a brilliant piece of work with a deeper and more sophisticated sound than their preceding releases. Thematically quite straightforward, the album touches on the grim regions of satanism and depression making the whole album nicely put into the traditional templates of black metal. Lawless is definitely my favourite track, however all 11 songs make the uniform entirety which I can’t be bored with.
9. Brocken Moon– III
Slightly more obscure stuff now. Brocken Moon has been spawned in 1999 and since then, released 3 full-length albums, each with somewhat different approach to the black metal topic. Stylistically very close to DSBM, Brocken Moon features raw and rather lengthy riffs combined with sick vocals and occasional spoken parts. The entire creation is disturbing and leaves you with a inspirational feeling of emptiness and desolation. The 2008 Das Märchen vom Schnee album is, for me, the highlight of the band’s discography.
10. Crematory– Reign of Fear
High school memories! I never really listened too much to Crematory, but this song brings some nice reminiscences. It’s funny to see how the perception of music changes. Back in 2004, this seemed to be some properly heavy music for me, now it’s just a laugh. However, it’s great to come back to some music roots and find out how you perceive some tunes now and how it changed over years.
I don’t know why but I find Germany very strong in depressive stuff. Here is another example of how brilliant they can get. Now on hold, Anti is the Brandenburg’s outfit with one full-length record released back in 2006. Grim and rather raw sound of guitars combined with fast passages all give an intense feeling of hopelessness and bleakness. The Insignificance of Life album is very cold and the background vocals give it an enigmatic character. You should definitely check it out!
12.Lunar Aurora– Dunkler Mann
When listening to Lunar Aurora I was always somehow avoiding the 2007 Andacht album, I have no idea why. Now I have repaired my mistake and I am actually falling in love with the record! Dunkler Mann is a sick song with some great blasts and extraordinary riffs. The sound is so much different comparing to other releases which definitely make Andacht stand out. Really worth recommending!
13.Der Weg Einer Freiheit– Einkehr
Who’s up for some good blasts? Der Weg einer Freiheit have released the new album last month and I can say they have certainly made a lot of effort soundwise. Stellar is a great piece of work with very mature approach that can be noticed in every song. Quite experimental at times, the record is the perfect overview of the band’s abilities and should be encouraging to check the previous releases as well.
14.Bethlehem – Tagebuch Einer Totgeburt
I don’t think that any German Theme Week would be complete without Bethlehem! In spite of the brilliance of the Dark Metal album, I still think that Dictius Te Necare is Bethlehem’s most bewitching release. Tegebuch Einer Totgeburt is a real Diary of a Stillborn which is a truly depressive track with a strong sense of hopelessness.
Bethlehem is also featured in one of the extensive chapters in Dayal Patterson’s new book – Black Metal: The Cult Never Dies.
15.Endstille– Conquest is Atheism
Fire, destruction & war! The Kiel’s machine gun Endstille is one of the strongest war-themed black metal bands in my opinion. They rightly describe their music as the ugliest aggressive black metal with the fire-speed of an MG42 and the power of heavy ship-artillery. Their rich discography contains some true jewels and Dominanz album is certainly one of them. Classic sound with penetrating riffs make Conquest is Atheism the best track of the album.
16.Necros Christos– Doom of Kali Ma – Pyramid of Shakti Love – Flame of Master Shiva
The death/doom metal Berlin’s outfit, Necros Christos, is certainly a characteristic formation and with their two full-length albums, they proved their idiosyncratic approach to music. The unique instrumental aspects are overwhelming on the records. Numerous brakes between songs form the story of the album linking everything together. Doom of the Occult is an astonishing piece of work with a doomy atmosphere which is recreated by the band on stage.
17.Sterbend– …Left to Weep and Mourn
And so, the German Theme Week has come to an end. For the last song I have decided to share a bit more of DSBM, bacause as I said before, I find Germany very strong in this black metal’s offshoot. Sterbend has been created in Greven in 2000 and, being now on hold, they have released only one full-length album – Dwelling Lifeless. The strong Burzum inspiration is very apparent, and …Left to Weep and Mourn really reminds me of Erblicket Die Töchter des Firmaments composed by Varg Vikernes. The sick vocals are definitely the Sterbend’s trademark which makes the outfit not to everyone’s taste. However, I think this is a perfect way to end the German Theme Week in the true depressive spirit!