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Review: Thorngoth - Rauhnacht

Label: Folter Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 46:11
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: January 25, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.71/5 (74.29%) (7 Votes)

Originality — it's a nice thing to have, but far from mandatory. Some bands take their inspiration from the greats and pay homage in a memorable and skillful manner. Some bands take it a step further and add their own special ingredient, and here we have an example of such a thing. Germany's Thorngoth take the foundation laid down by the greats and then add their own spark to give life to deliver a solid slab of Black Metal with occasional epic qualities.

This is not raw Black Metal; the production on Rauhnacht is good, and well crafted — a fair bit of thought seems to have gone into it as it suits the music, with its caustic guitars that feel like they're about to crack the glass and wash away your flesh, and clear, subtle bass sound. In fact, the bass occasionally breaks out and supplies a tasty little line such as in "Schiachperchten", a track which is also a highlight of the album with its mid-paced, icy tremolo riffs and dissonant open chords. There are some acoustic passages as well, with the section in the middle of "Nihilistic Visions" being jarring and its acoustic intro is an oddly disjoint piece that is over all too quickly, but it does herald one of the best tracks on the album. Several guitar solos scream in from out of nowhere throughout the album, most notably on the opener "Curse Them, Curse Them", adding an extra dimension to the already well rounded mix. The drum sound is a little bit of a let down, with a muddy bottom end and muted snare that is a little too low in the mix. It is competently done, but unremarkable, by-the-numbers drumming, but I feel the music rarely calls for any showmanship from sticksman Bulwvai, being a very guitar-focused affair.

Vocally, Akhorahil has a harsh, throaty rasp similar to Kriegtalith of Darkestrah, that dips into a lower growl (not in anyway Death Metal-like), and it is very effective. His screams can sound very schizophrenic at times — sometimes a harsh shriek, sometimes an Abbath-like croak and sometimes an out of control cry, it makes for some nice variation. The vocals are also frequently double-tracked giving them a full sound (especially with a menacing growl as the foundation), with the album intro carried by a nebulous groan, like an awakening elder god — great stuff!

The songwriting here is excellent, with each track being varied in itself and on the album. The band gives a large nod to later era Gorgoroth, a little bit of Glorior Belli, and you will also hear the hallmarks of German Black Metal, notably Lunar Aurora (vocalist Akhorahil was their keysman for a while), Graupel, The Ruins of Beverast (without the bombast), and other luminaries of the German scene. Rauhnacht is a largely mid-paced affair, varied with fairly frequent blasting — "Abgrund" screams along with a primal ferocity that highlights their ability to cut sick with some great old school shit. It very rarely slows right down, but Thorngoth are very effective when they do so, with the dissonant guitars creating a dark atmosphere that can be quite uneasy — see the epic "Der Wanderer" for a great example. With an average length of around 6 minutes, the tracks are sometimes lengthy, but a couple of them could easily be longer as they carry themes that could be extended and worked around — testament to the overall quality.

Overall Thorngoth have dropped upon the earth a fucking heavy and evil album that frequently delivers epic riffs and harrowing atmosphere. They are short on originality, but that's not even really a criticism as they do what they do very well. Fans of German Black Metal should already own a copy of this, and BM fans in general should be checking it out right fucking now — everyone else should probably just turn around and go back to church.

More about Thorngoth...
Review: Rauhnacht (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
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