Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Urfaust - Geist ist Teufel (A)

What to make of an album that features the following in the cd booklet, a black and white picture of a shirtless man holding a torch with the captions "Black Metal Occultists Fire Walt With Us". Not to mention the cryptic black and white pictures within, one being some painting of monk like men praying in fire with a naked devil like figure with a very cartoonish looking face (complete with bulging eyes and exaggerated mouth expression). And they're called Urfaust, named after Goethe's earliest forms of work for his famous play Faust. Well as it turns out the music is even stranger then you could probably imagine, even with all the previous hints. It starts out with a kind of lo-fi orchestral throb with super dramatic, crooning, evil sounding vocals over it. Next is an almost traditional, raw midpaced black metal track, except for the vocals, which transform it into something so much more. Almost over the top, equal parts croon, howl and drunken operatics (!) instantly recognizable once you've heard it. The third track starts with one of THOSE guitar riffs that get stuck in your head, constantly humming along to it, wondering why you aren't listening to it at that exact moment. The vocals follow suit and basically goes along with the riff which is repeated over and over throughout the song, offering only a few changes throughout. Normally that kind of repetition might be a bad thing but here it works wonderfully, plus it's one of those things you don't mind hearing over and over and over. The song could be described as some kind of drunken, loping vikinglike jig played to raw black metal, probably the most "festive" track on the album and perhaps my favorite. Next we have another dirgelike track of raw black metal and of course those over the top vocals making it that much more amazing. Then the albums closing tracks veer more into ambient territory, which as it turns out the band originally formed to create ambient music. The second to last track is a more orchestral based ambience with those unmistakable vocals over it. And the closing track is all ambient swooosh and swiiiish, totally trance inducing, totally blissed out, sounding like it could be a long lost Tangerine Dream song that's collected a bit of dust over the years. Some kind of lo-fi orchestral ambient wierdo raw black metal masterpiece.

Released through GoatowaRex.

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