Neun Welten - Vergessene Pfade
Auerbach Tonträger
Neofolk
10 songs (45:49)
Release year: 2006
Neun Welten, Auerbach Tonträger
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Ironically, it is modern technology that has made the recent rise in the popularity of Folk music possible. Were it not for the internet, many would never have discovered the Neofolk scene that is steadily growing across Europe, a scene that has manifested in styles as diverse as the Slovenian Industrial prankster godfathers Laibach to the more traditional sounds of our very own Sol Invictus. A relatively new face in the arena is that of German ‘dark folk’ five-piece Neun Welten (‘nine worlds’) who utilise acoustic orchestration to drive their classically influenced sound. Debut full-length Vergessene Pfade (‘forgotten paths’) took inspiration from traditional Norwegian mythology as well as the more usual pastoral themes to inspire the nine tracks - and one bonus live track - on offer here.

Divided into three sets of three tracks each, the album has a definite drive to it, being much more than merely forty-five minutes’ worth of acoustic plucking. Songs such as Auf Kargem Fels, driven by pounding drums and intricate instrumentation, have a real air of excitement to them and are sure to keep the listener’s interest. Of course, there’s still plenty of the simple guitar melodies that detractors claim makes the genre so dull, but it’s the subtle interjections of violin, cello, flute and clarinet that add up to a convincing whole. Vocals are featured extremely sparingly; appearing only on Svartalfheim where initial whispering changes to a female choir and epic male vocals, yet without detracting from the surrounding instrumental tracks at all, such is the level of skill at work here.

Each and every track is extremely well written, bearing enough hooks to keep the listener involved, but asking for real concentration in return. The usage of clarinet in Midsommer has a pleasantly Jazzy feel to it, and the occasional sampled nature sounds such as rain and wind bind the material even closer to its subject. Production of the album is flawless, making each and every note ring out clearly. It’s a terrific contrast to the grime-caked filth that seems to be the essence of many a Rock band’s sound. This is truly beautiful music, the gentle sound of the countryside in challenge against the coarse noise of the city. Ultimately, Vergessene Pfade serves not only as a perfect escape from the monotony of modern living for a glimpse of times when mere existence was a joy and people were happy with themselves, but also as a more than decent introduction to the world of Folk, and thus is vital for anyone truly concerned with music itself.

Killing Songs :
Valg, Walden, Auf Kargem Fels, Midsommer
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Neun Welten that we have reviewed:
Neun Welten - Destrunken reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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