Todtgelichter - Angst
Aural Music/Code666
Progressive/Black Metal
8 songs (54:45)
Release year: 2010
Aural Music/Code666
Reviewed by Charles
Surprise of the month
Just as the New Labour government in Britain declared that 50% of all children must grow up to go to university, so the shadowy cabal that pulls the black metal scene’s strings seems to have decreed that 50% of black metal bands must grow up to play prog. Todtgelichter are another once-grim act to have ditched the humdrum world of the frowning and frosty blast to begin a new life as chin-stroking space voyagers. The cover, an upside-down man on some blue, looks a little like it should be resplendent on the front of a teenage-bedroom ambient project, but actually this is a sophisticated metal album capable of standing respectably alongside some of the high-profile releases of the sort we’ve already seen this year. It need not lower its eyes in the presence of the recent Enslaved or Nachtmystium (in fact, I’d take it over those two’s latest efforts), and it can even stand up to the magnificent Monument to Time End by Twilight.

Angst presents eight tracks traversing varied terrain, beginning heavily with the intense rumble of Café of Lost Dreams. A smouldering rhythm section is cooled unexpectedly by the clear female vocals that wash over it, releasing a gush of sustained-synth steam. As we get further into the album, the musical centre of gravity shifts towards a more relaxed take on the types of fusion sounds pioneered by the bands mentioned above (it’s more blackened prog than progressive black). Songs frequently take the form of bouncing, almost indie riffing, given black metal weight by a double-kick percussive battery and hoarse, harsh vocals. The echo-heavy lead guitar lines which whistle and wail overheard are a recurrent trademark and never fail to imbue the sound with a rich sense of texture and harmony. At times, as on (most of) Neon we ditch any semblance of metal to wander into the lands of graceful gothic pop, with Marta’s singing, relaxed backbeat and ambient, rippling lead meandering giving it the feel of The Gathering had they further explored the catchier moments of their mid-period albums.

Such is the effectiveness of Todtgelichter’s use of these ethereal lead guitar textures that even the crunching weight of heavier tunes like Subway feel incomplete until engaging melodic ideas and unusually tasteful keyboards are allowed to bleed back in and enrich the sound. Moloch is restlessly immense, shifting throughout its eight-minute length between imposing and weighty rock riffing, throaty German anguish and luxurious swaths of synth. The final two minutes takes us into a wonderful explosion of mellotron and meditative vocal harmonies that would truly grace a record like Opeth’s Damnation.

This is an excellent release, which should demand the attention of any metal listener with an ear for melody, let alone those who have been following the journeys of black metal into new realms with any level of enthusiasm.

Killing Songs :
Oblivion, Moloch, Neon
Charles quoted 85 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:31 pm
View and Post comments