Trist - Willenskraft
Cold Dimensions
Ambient Black Metal
6 songs (59:58)
Release year: 2009
Cold Dimensions
Reviewed by Goat

Opening with over twelve minutes of crashing waves backed with barely audible ambience, the third album from Lunar Aurora man Benjamin König under his Trist persona is in no rush, and patience is vital if you want to get anything at all from the listening experience. Look at the cover art: a mysterious figure, crouched by a dark sea... this is what Willenskraft is, the sound of his lament. A few moments into second track Wagemut, the uncanny groaning and wailing start to echo across the water, the mournful depression of someone bemoaning a great tragedy. By the time that the Black Metal starts, guitars and (as far as I can tell, programmed) drums slowly building, I was hooked, and as repetitive as the remaining ten or so minutes of the song is, it’s absolutely gripping, simple keyboard melodies giving the basic music undertow a surprisingly Burzumic catchiness.

There’s not a great deal of variation here, as you might expect. Zweifel returns to the lapping waves, mysterious clunks and whispers here and there adding a bit of spookiness, Verhinderer has a spoken-word piece (that would doubtless mean much more to me if I spoke German) and what sounds like very crackly machine guns, but it’s Herzenswunch where the atmosphere gets effective again, opening with ominous piano tones before launching into another Black Metal section, a chaotic layer of barely-discernable screams fading to allow the distorted keyboard line to ride over the waves. None of it is exactly original, but I always find this style of Dark Ambient effective when done well, and König has done very well indeed here. As with his main band, there’s a strange otherworldliness to it all, and if you’ve ever been by the ocean at night, something that everyone should experience, this has a similarly eerie feel to it that makes it easy to waste hours in front of.

Really, there’s not much more that can be said about Willenskraft. Unless you’re the sort of person that enjoys listening to ambient music whilst going out and about, something that has never appealed to me personally, then headphones and a dark room are essential, as is listening to the album all the way through. Skipping here and there, the Black Metal sections are too repetitive to be enjoyable, but when prefaced with ten minutes or so of lapping waves, all is compelling. Definitely an album for the ambient end of the Black Metal crowd, Willenskraft will appeal to few, but frustrate many without the patience to give it the time it deserves. A niche release, to be sure.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Wagemut, Herzenswunch
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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