Zwiespalt return with the follow-up to "Ambivalenz" from 2020, once again featuring a radically bleak, raw and minimalist approach to the 90s lo-fi atmosphere. But in this case it's legit to judge the book by its cover: "Distanz" is even a bit colder.
>> "Distanz" is about longing for the stars. It is a journey in solitude through storms on withered fields, getting lost in the rising fog of autumnal woods, and ending up in the freezing cold bleakness of winter. It is about burned in memories of a long gone past, that still crawl through ones mind. A sphere of the unreachable that is not only manifested in space but also in time. <<
Black′n′Roll and black-thrash are genre terms that can be used to mean pretty much anything nowadays, good and bad. What they mean here is a retro party jukebox containing pretty much everything that was awesome about 80s metal. This is no hommage to Celtic Frost, Tankard, Cirith Ungol, Accept, Venom or Motörhead... This is an allstar-tribute band having a relentless orgy within a single song. And somehow they still manage to channel the whole clusterfuck into thoroughly addictive and surprisingly coherent songs – whose main emphasis on "fun" or "evil" depends wholly on whether Horrormance currently happen to be in the middle of bona fide proto black metal worship, or fully skidding off manilla road into the heavy-speed gravel lane. Either way, the focus is on point and the music as consistent and real as is usually only reserved for the holy Darkthrone of modern times. TL;DR: If you like the mentioned classics, pull the stick out of your ass and enjoy a record that is nothing but pure metal love from start to finish, with maximum attention to reference detail.
The newest underground project out of the Greek Isolert circle is called Sores and presents its first album after releasing two great demo tapes in recent years. Even though there's another screamer at work, the vocals are just as sick and weird as in Sørgelig, almost entering Burzum territory. Musically, this falls roughly somewhere between the mentioned bands. That is to say, 90s low-fi black metal with scandinavian roots - mostly fast, no-frills and catchy, including effective jaunts into DSBM, without overdoing monotony as a style device.
Two years after "Seid furchtbar und zerstöret euch", one of the most senior underground projects the German scene has to offer is making another radical statement against every single acceptable trend in modern black metal. "monotot" is simply the absolute and total counterattack to overproduced prog nonsense, debonair eso-hipsters and pseudo-suicidal emo trash - formerly known as "black metal".
Sørgelig are a side project of Isolert from Greece - or vice versa, since both are full-fledged quality acts. Sørgelig represents the more primeval, underground side of black metal between the two. And they′re pushing it to the absolute limit too. Piercing low-fi guitar shredding over monotonous blast beats alternates with clinically depressive tempo breaks, and above all, a raging and shrieking lunatic provides vocal torture which still manages to stick out today and drains every last drop of pathetic zest for life out of you. 8 tracks that truly live up to the album title.
Due to its members, The Last Seed could be considered a follow-up project to Kerker and Trauer. However, the musical approach clearly veers more towards classic 2nd wave black metal instead of DSBM here. Although in a similar melancholy way, paying more attention to an absorbing mystic atmosphere than forced originality and constant diversion.
The second album released in 2020 emphasizes again the clear vision that The Last Seed had already sketched out with their debut two years before: Strong melodic guitar work supported by minimalistic synths, highly dynamic and refreshingly organic drums, atmospheric and effective vocals. All in all simply a well-rounded soundtrack for good old 90s black metal escapism.
Isolert don′t really sound like you′d expect from their Greek heritage (also overlapping with the awesome project Sørgelig), which is by no means a bad thing, given the quality of this rather classicaly Scandinavian performance. The new album "World in Ruins" is just 100% black metal on the highest level of playing and production. If you still need more nuances, imagine a bastard child of Gorgoroth and Dissection. Can′t go wrong with that if you enjoyed a somewhat reasonable musical conditioning growing up.
Wolfshauch is the first solo project by Memnoch (Fratze, Cruda Sorte). Its debut recording contains 6 songs in 44 minutes and was released in 2007. This style of melodic, orthodox black metal was typical for the 90s underground in Germany - fortunately avoiding all its typical pitfalls that made many acts unbearable back in the day. What you get is raw guitars (sometimes reminiscent of early Burzum and Emperor), occasional acoustic and keyboard accents, clinical drumcomputer, original psychotic lyrics and last but not least authentic DIY spirit, creating a consistently convincing atmosphere, which pulls you in like the old times.
Wolfshauch′s second full-length from 2010 follows the same path since the beginning: highly atmospheric German black metal - only more depressing, dark and dreary. Jewelcase, 8 songs, >1h playing time.