Klabautamann - Our Journey Through the Woods
Vendlus
Melodic Black Metal with Folk overtones
10 songs (51'32")
Release year: 2008
Klabautamann, Vendlus
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

From the area of essential, but not having seen the proper release in North America, Vendlus pulls out a gem which is Klabautamann’s full-length debut Our Journey Through the Woods. Either they got smitten by Der Ort, the release many hailed, or they knew of Klabautamann before, but Vendlus has a knack of issuing those must hear albums which otherwise would be simply slipping by (see Wolves in the Throne Room).

With the two Klabautamann releases I had a chance to experience, I think that their cover art is really an excellent reflection of what is awaiting inside. If Der Ort was true forestry, then Our Journey Through the Woods does have a certain amount of forest inspired black metal, in combination with mischievous folk, but also more primal earthy overtones. It is if Der Ort, in a way, was a continuation flowing out of Our Journey Through the Woods, where the band continued to develop the side which inspired them most on the debut.

In that regard Our Journey Through the Woods is a more multi-faceted album than Der Ort. Few would expect the track as visceral, blasting and full of cascading riffs as Der Nock after a walking in the brush, rustling acoustic opener. If black metal is more about chaos and lack of structure, Trolldance is almost death metal, characterized by the tight definition of its riffs. Tower of Sorcery and This Place, on other hand, are more occult, reminiscent of the earlier Behemoth, both tracks with lots of ideas, the songs shredding and blasting one minute, only to succumb to the melodic apocalyptic avalanche a little later.

Klabautamann demonstrate an incredible ability to weave their acoustics next to the harshest expressions, nowhere this contrast is more obvious than Tower of Sorcery following an acoustic flamenco or gypsy instrumental Elfentanz. When folk elements are introduced they are subtle, not in your face, but either subconscious, like the rays of the sun peeking on a cloudy morning (the beginning of Rabenmorgen) or whipped into an utter frenzy by the quick inserted fretboard flies (Trolldance, This Place).

My favorite tracks are Der Ort “precursors” where short periods of quiet are promptly replaced with unrelenting melodic chord progressions, coming at you in waves, both powerful and entrancing. Seaghost has the most appropriate title as this track invokes a nautical experience. Closing Spring Morning Sun and Autumn’s Breath are the light-shade combination which Klabautamann are the masters of. Slowly walking or running through the forest, the kaleidoscope is breathtaking and everchanging, sunlit spots alternating with dark branches covered patches. The album is full of this dynamics, be it the almost Gothenborg melody in Spring Morning Sun, mysterious Tower of Sorcery or punishing Der Nock. In the end, the story is complete, the Journey coming full circle, the brush disturbing steps fading away.

Let’s hope Vendlus has the rights not only to re-release the old material, and the German duo continues to deliver albums which would appeal to the fans of Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Primordial.

Killing Songs :
Rabenmorgen, Seaghost, Spring Morning Sun, Autumn's Breath
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Klabautamann that we have reviewed:
Klabautamann - Merkur reviewed by Charles and quoted 88 / 100
Klabautamann - Der Ort reviewed by Aaron and quoted 92 / 100
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