[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
This German outfit has made five albums so far, including “Romantik”, which is being released through Temple of Torturous. The trio from Bonn is formed around the drummer Florian, a member of the more known Klabautamann and owner of Zeitgeister Music, the bassist Jan and the guitarist Christian (of the death-doom-ambient group OWL), the other two members managing the vocals as well.
They perform a sagacious emotional doom metal framed within a gothic romance aura, of which the first extract, “Vampyr”, gives pleasant proof. An atmosphere of uneasy curiosity draws the listener in by the simplest means of subtle and soft keyboard touches, merely suggesting a musical structure that is being kept at surface with a dragging doom metal rhythmic section. “Blitz Aus Sodom” paints such an anomalous state of mixture, enacting a pending charm somewhere in the distance.
It may seem that their music has more in common with dark/ gothic metal and the now obsolete Crematory’s epigones, which in fact is very customary for the German scene, than with contemporary doom metal as regenerated by Triptykon. Upon hearing “Comtesse”, you cannot help but think of black-and-white horror films; Valborg eludes the vigilance of the demanding metal songs by their theatrical ability to suggest an exciting, unnatural pace, which delivers this cinematic, compelling mood.
If I were to trace the course of souvenirs further, this slow, hypnotic development of their music tinges at the Italian progressive scene and the solo works of Paul Chain. “Sulphur Vitriol Agent”, with its infant alchemical vibe or “Kryptische Arroganz”, engulfing in a vaudeville trance any solid impression of this illusive world, are compositions of a mysterious vein. “Romantik” concludes with “The Haunted Womb”, heavier in nature than all the other songs, making one succumb to the imperious domination of another listening to the record.
Despite its inoffensive or even minimalist aspect, “Romantik” is a record that needs an empathic scrutiny, allowing its undeniable lyrical qualities to pervade the soul. This opus seems to be all the more exceptional as the emotionally evocative verse and melody of the songs favor an audience with a penchant for a sensibility that our age may have lost.