[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
This German output is in fact the project of so-called Gilles de Rais, who composes the songs and takes care of the guitars and bass, and is being completed by drums and vocals by O. (the battery for Chaos Invocation as well).
They had released a record named “Fin de Siecle” in 2012 and now, in the stylistically direct manner of that decadent epoch described in the title, they have edited “Keiserschnitt” with the assistance of Debemur Morti.
Now, the German brand of black metal is unmistakable, ultimately having memorized the soldier shrieking vocals and a sort of brute, raw tobacco and hop smeared riffing execution. Their Deutsch optic on (extreme) metal is either crudely nihilistic and suicidal or plainly pagan and utopic, idiotic and shallow. Of course, in between or around, bands like this one favour exceptions and cherish the avant-garde.
The Porta Nigra musicians have enrolled in a risky whiskey march through the austere fields of this metal genre, digging up trenches for those uncomfortable with their music. Starting the record with the blowing horns of “Die Mensur” they announce from the beginning their intention to set aside the common tapestry of sounds, and make the audience partake in an intensely colored musical register. Some appetizing siblings are to be found within The Monolith Deathcult and Solefald pedigree, retraced on the wedding march-shaped Beheritian ballad “Femme Fatale”. The melody here is so memorable because the barbaric and displeased sound dominates on quite a gentle song line.
To paraphrase another vernacular project, Von Thronstahl, Porta Nigra transforms a vision and an ambiguous revolt into an original style in a cozy, affectionate and noble yet decadent manner, having the power to cut through the repulsive and repetitive contemporary fashion. With the homonym song, “Kaiserschnitt”, they could march on the same stage as Count Nosferatu Kommando, in the occasion of a fraternal Francogermanic parade.
Not only the cesarean connotation of the title, but also the manner of composing and interpreting the music permits a certain level of association with bombastic martial industrial projects (Spreu & Weizen for example). To all of these pathetic struggles to seize the core of their music, perhaps Porta Nigra responds with a portion of ironic weirdness as present on “In Stahlgewittern” or “Mata Hari”, that renders any such attempt even more miserable. Such unpredictable accords have hardly been heard before; apparently composed with a facile, playful technique, the song-writing line flows incredibly smoothly, despite the puzzling shape the song takes once it fully enters the mind of the listener.
The band labels their music as “dark metal” and “Hepatitis Libido” even invokes in memory the specter of some other German schizoid excursionists, Bethlehem. Besides being a radiant, emotional song, it’s disturbing, and to everyone willing to open themselves, serves as a sound-ethylic pharmakon.
The last two songs underline once again the versatility of the record. If “Ich-Zerfall” hits you like a blow in the head and there are moments you feel you might lose your mental stability, “Der Letze Ton” draws with beautiful stable brushes of a river-ian metal the framework of a legendary realm. Anyone can be here if they pass the Porta Nigra.