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Review: Angmar - Zuruck in die Unterwelt
Zuruck in die Unterwelt

Label: Ketzer Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 68:37
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: April 14, 2010
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Zuruck in die Unterwelt

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (8 Votes)

Well this album is a bit schizophrenic. Angmar are a French band, and this is their second album in a career going back eight years. This is in places pretty cool, but gets rather self-indulgent in places. Angmar are a very 'nature' oriented BM band influenced by expansive, ambient acts like Arckanum, Wyrd, or even Falkenbach, though Angmar have no trace of Viking/Pagan elements in their sound.

Angmar's ambient passages are quite good overall, while the opening track starts with a too-long and rather uninteresting ambient sequence, the extensive ambient portions of the 20 minute opus "Perdition" are quite Agalloch-esque and haunting. I think the ambient bits go on too long, but that's not a huge beef. Angmar's actual Black Metal is pretty good, but the guitar lacks bite, and is not melodically engaging enough to sail it past the lack of aggression. Vocals are an expected but undistinguished rasp, which does nothing at all to add to the music. If I have a major flaw to point out, it's that most of the time the segues from ambient noodling to BM assault are too jarring, and seem to happen for no reason. It's just "here's a fast part, here's a slow part" – there is no sense, through the entire composition, of the two elements working together to build towards a single musical narrative. "Perdition" comes closest to this ideal, but still meanders and lacks focus. I would say an overall lack of focus is this band's major flaw, as there is never a sense that all this is getting us anywhere.

Still, they do manage to generate some nice atmosphere, and there is certainly nothing actively bad about any of it. It's the kind of album that just kind of goes by, neither offending the ears nor really engaging them. Angmar have something to say, but they keep getting in the way of this by the way they are saying it, and how very long and roundabout that turns out to be.

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