Monday, January 23, 2012

Dornenreich: Flammentriebe (2011)


Pagan metal is not a genre I devote a great deal of time to, but I have been making a rewarding effort to become more familiar with it. The Austrian band Dornenreich was one of my first exposures, with their very unusual (extremely soft but with harsh vocals) Hexenwind. Flammentriebe cements them as one of my favorite pagan metal bands, if not the overall favorite.

The music is based around dynamic contrast between softer acoustic-oriented parts, usually with whispered vocals, and harsher black metal parts, usually with emotional yells and screams. It's a simple and cheap enough formula which has been used many times, but rarely has it been done so convincingly.

Credit for that goes to the violin, which ties both halves of the music together. Its morose qualities also enhance the emotional effect of the vocals. But the band is not set apart solely by their mastery of the formula. The guitar style mixes open chords and muted chords together to make for a distinctive style, best represented by album standout "Wolfpuls". The fact the lyrics are in German, of course, adds immensely to my enjoyment, enhancing the Old World aesthetic of the folk-inspired melodies.

The Verdict: From the acoustic introductory passage of "Flammenmensch" to the Agallochian "Erst deine Träne löscht den Brand", the record is full of memorable music that has emotional impact. Flammentriebe is an early contender for my list of the best albums of 2011 that I didn't hear in 2011, and it makes me want to look deeper into Dornenreich's back catalog. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. I'm not familiar with this band, but you've made me curious.

  2. Definitely check out Hexenwind by them. It is my favorite.