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venerdì 12 luglio 2019

Waldgeflüster - Mondscheinsonaten

#FOR FANS OF: Atmospheric Black Metal, Drudkh
Taking its Bavarian black metal style into a more anthemic and delicately adorned place, emotionally gripping high-resolution heartfelt heathendom travails twixt the timbers in search of the message within the 'forest whisperings' where Waldgeflüster finds its namesake. Far less dreary in production than the previous presentation but no less melancholic than 'Ruinen', these tickling strings through gruff folksy laments offer insights into how the fabled fury of black metal blasts and clip clopping cymbals can cry out through the deluges of choking atmospheric layering that make this band's music stand firmly within the boundary of black metal and curiously peek out to the lands beyond.

Epic anguished compositions consist of melancholic treble cries over humming rhythmic strums, the battle hardened black metal blast beat belabored by its forced march through this swirling nihil, and a majesty reached in “Der Steppenwolf” that is as proud as it is concerned with its struggle to endure has been brought to humbling fruition. Played in acoustic at the back end of vinyl versions of this album, these Jekyl and Hyde explorations of this strong song further express the turbulent dichotomous melancholy of being caught between the natures of man and wolf, an aperture through which Waldgeflüster both cherishes and laments the beauty in which it finds itself confined and simultaneously freed.

An echoing mix of awkward twanging and seas of reverb hammered into shape by blast beating makes “Gipfelstürmer” sound as much a storm as an echo of timelessness worn into stone as the longest piece on 'Mondscheinsonaten' dances a skyline of tempestuous gales and rides out a storm of withering emotions. Dense treble rainfall sloshes over thumping percussion as rhythmic vocals call out to the storm and attempt to subvert the deluge until drowning in the cries of cascading strings. Throughout this album is an expansive breadth of emotion with a focus on dragging out melancholic riffs, drowning them in the choral tones of a throaty choir, and accentuating the reverberating strings that twirl in the tremolo swirls of this clear and woeful sighing production.

Expressive sustain behind a trickle of guitar notes flourishes into a haze of grain, growing into a drastic gale of decaying strings struggling to hang on to their escaping breaths. The curvature of a chugging rhythm three minutes into “Rotgoldene Novemberwälder”, uplifted by more droning choral calls behind a rolling percussion, grips the heart with the psychedelic impact of Drudkh and the august heroism of Horn. Like reading the parallels between dramatic mythological rides into a deadly underworld, one is easily enwrapped in the throes of these decaying 'red-gold Novemeber forests' as life fades into another unquiet winter, hurriedly attempting to absorb the last nutrients of a time of plenty before enduring the coming cold. Thus “Und Der Wind...” and “Von Winterwäldern Und Mondscheinsonaten” take up a fierce anthemic mantle, cloaking the fading forest in swirling snow storms and making less distinct and more distant the cries of desperation emanating from the mouths of its victims as the onslaught of winter breeches the woodland refuge.

A breath caught in a whirlwind of emotions, imprisoned by the escapism of imagination within these arboreal walls, and falling to despair in a desperate struggle to stay upright, 'Mondscheinsonaten' strives to survive the privations of its station while still acknowledging the lustrous allure that such natural beauty can inspire in its meandering melodies. Yet still the tear of its fury must succumb to silence, the disquiet of its fitful attempts to survive fall to the desolation of existence's entropy. Such a knowledge is incredibly apparent throughout these foreboding forays yet still so mysteriously lingering between each heave of horrific glory, suggesting a beyond for which to strive despite such distinct decay and despair woven throughout these painstaking passages.

Where a song like “Und Der Wind...” flirts with the basics of a folk rock structure and energizes it with the fury of a black metal brutalization, the general cry of this cavalcade of corrosive textures becomes an understanding of the necessity of decay, the need to die in order to make life worth its struggle, and the endlessness that is entropy for fighting nonexistence through shout and shudder still realizes the same simple reality. Entropy cannot be reversed. (Five_Nails)

Score: 85

Waldgeflüster is a German band coming from Munich. The German black metal scene is widely known and respected by the fans. There are tons of bands which play a quite orthodox form of black metal, while many others are more interested in playing a sort of black metal heavily influenced by the ancient history of their land, which is commonly known as the pagan black metal subgenre. The German scene of this subgenre is, in my humble opinion, one of the best and the range of bands playing this style is quite rich and interesting. While some bands have a heavy folk influence, using folk instruments more generously, other ones use them sparsely, being a secondary resource used to enrich the music in certain moments. I would place Waldgeflüster in this second group. Musically speaking, Waldgeflüster plays black metal with a certain somber touch, creating a melancholic atmosphere, without lacking the expected aggression in a band whose roots are the black metal genre.

'Mondscheinsonaten' is the fifth album of a band whose line-up has remained quite stable since it became a full band in 2014. Prior to this moment, it was a one-man band created by Winterherz. His talent was already clear in the first and impressive three records entitled 'Herbstklagen', 'Femundsmarka - Eine Reise in Drei Kapiteln' and 'Meine Fesseln'. Going back to the latest record, I can safely say that Winterherz´s touch and talent are still in a very good shape. 'Mondscheinsonaten' is a very nice piece of pagan influenced black metal with the aforementioned dark and somber touch, but with a good range of elements which make the album an excellent work. The album contains seven songs, being some of the quite long as the impressive "Gripfelstürme", probably one of the best if not the best track of this album. It´s a very varied and dynamic track with tastefully composed sections and melodies. This lengthy track includes excellent melodies, some powerful and pagan-esque clean vocals which accompany the usual high-pitched shrieks, as well as intelligently placed atmospheric keys . "Rotgoldene Novemberwälder" is the single of the album and summarizes perfectly the main characteristics of this album. It is an excellently structured song with impressive guitars and background vocals, which make the sound epic yet mournful. Once again the clean vocals, both in the front and in the background, play a major role in making these songs emotional. Even though the top-notch guitars and the already mentioned touching clean vocals are the ones which have the most import roles in 'Mondscheinsonaten', Waldgeflüster successfully use other resources to enrich this work, as some very nicely composed atmospheric keys which are one of the highlights in the very intense and hypnotic track entitled "Und der Wind". Acoustic guitars are also used in different tracks, mainly as a song opener, which is sometimes abruptly interrupted by a purely black metal-ish section or as an introduction to a acoustic esque sung section as it happens in the album closer "Staub in der Lunge". This song perfectly closes this excellent work leaving us a permanent feeling of melancholy.

'Mondscheinsonaten' is undoubtedly an impressive work which confirms Waldgeflüster as one of the best bands in the German pagan black metal scene. With songs having a strong black metal base, the German guys build an album rich in the use of different elements, which makes the listener keep interested from the very beginning to the end. It’s a emotionally very intense album, which I think is something great and makes the music even more special. (Alain González Artola)