Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Schattenbrandung: I - Apophänie (2012)

I Don't Know What these Words Mean

Review by Metallattorney. He is the law.

Blackened doom metal is kind of an odd concept. Some of the earliest better-known black metal bands were often very fast-paced with thrash metal and punk influences. Think Immortal and Gorgoroth's earlier work for examples. Doom metal on the other hand is quite the opposite. Obviously over time the atmosphere became the major element in black metal and that is where black and doom metal were able to eventually find a common ground. Blackened doom would not have worked in the mid 1990's. It works better now.

Meet Schattenbrandung, a German blackened doom metal band. This is the band's debut album after forming in 2009. Their songs on their album are not named, but instead represented by Roman numerals that are weirdly out of order and missing VI. Their inability to count notwithstanding, this is some surprisingly decent stuff in places.

The songs often alternate between heavy and faster-paced riffing and more melodic noodling. It is quite the contrast and it probably would come across better if it was not done so frequently. I find myself enjoying the heavier material much more than the lighter stuff. Oftentimes when they go lighter there just is not anything else really going on. Very few vocals, just some light drumming and melancholic guitar chords. There is not too much to the melodic soft sections.

The songs on this are often very long. The shortest one is almost seven minutes long. The band tries to break up the monotony by switching gears somewhat frequently with tempo shifts and the aforementioned alternating hard and soft sections. Sometimes this is effective, sometimes it feels as if the band is having troubles figuring out what to do next and ending the song is not one of the options.

I do not want it to seem like this is a bad album, it is just a little overdone at times. The good parts are very good and they do outnumber the bad. It would be nice if the band would cut down on the soft sections, or at least shorten them. The rest of the material does sound pretty good.

I give this album 3 out of 5 stars.

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