Sunday, 31 January 2010

Karg - Von den Winden der Sehnsucht. 90/100.

Next up, a one man Austrian black metal band with ambient and, most surprisingly, subtle folk influences who go by the name of Karg. If you’re looking for a brief description to give you an idea of what this debut record, entitled ‘Von den Winden der Sehnsucht’ sounds almost exactly like Nargaroth’s ‘Geliebte des Regens’ with a few notable differences in style, like the subtle folk elements and some of the soaring symphonies that progressively begin to fluctuate more and more as the record moves through its transcendental themes with some moments of classically inspired music perfectly drifted into the atmosphere like its been there from the beginning. For a while now many people have claimed that black metal is a dry hole, leaving the beginnings of something special that the second wave created behind like a loveless marriage. The cries are that musicians are forgetting what the priceless second wave had to offer and instead, are attempting to pioneer their own new sounds with unrelenting mediocrity. According to these sections of fans, the genre should be like one of African’s water holes during the period after the wet season. People should be flocking back to it time and again like hordes of thirsty animals, risking life and limb for this dying genre of ours like we were on the bring of severe dehydration.

We’re supposedly meant to worship the second wave, without becoming clones, or sheep, following in the footsteps of bands who have defined an era already. The contradictory nature of the pleas really do irk me and I cannot state how much I believe that this genre of ours, beloved by all that know what it truly means to be a black metal fan, is actually prospering beneath our feet. If we were to only open our blinkered eyes and really, truly take a long look around, we will discover in front of our eyes what we have been blindly calling for all along. I believe bands, even as obscure as Karg are, are establishing a fruitful theme in the underground that condemns these soulless fans who plead with the musicians to do something about the state of black metal because there are numerous bands who’re already becoming hybrids for the second and third wave generations. The gap between the second and third wave is becoming wider all the time, but this is a natural progression, not a forced one imposed by some sort of tyrannical leader who’s hell bent on destroying his own beautiful land with conscription, death and unfair taxes imposed upon the unhealthy masses who’re in need of affection and love, not the opposite treatment. This gap, though increasing, is important to the scene because for a genre like black metal to stand still comes with damaging consequences that would surely signal the end of its devastatingly beautiful ways.

Although Karg’s ‘Von den Winden der Sehnsucht’ may resemble that of Nargaroth’s aforementioned record, it draws on new themes that are becoming the norm in the black metal society, or at least between musicians. Like a raging river, it flows endlessly towards experimentation like it were the ocean, the ultimate goal, the final destination for the streams water. This record has its own unique sound, despite the early comparisons to Nargaroth, who’s music is often ridiculed because of some personal vendettas people have against the bands musician, Kanwulf. Somehow I have managed to miss something here because I don’t understand the hatred he gets. I don’t know the full story, so I’m not about to judge him based on what little I know, or care about him. I don’t know him on a personal level, so it is of no interest to me what he does with his life as long as he proceeds to churn out loveable black metal records like ‘Geliebte des Regens’, which I like to refer to as one of the many marmites of music -- you either love it or hate it with a passion -- fortunately, I fall into the former category and because of that, I enjoy this record too despite its stupidly long songs that could do with trimming down with a pair of garden sheers. There is a distinctive pattern forming when it comes to the songs and the lengths of those songs. The shorter songs, which are usually a lot more instrumental, are the one’s that like to experiment with ambiance and folk inspired themes that reminds me of bands like the Argentinean band Diadema Tristis.

This comparison is likely to be reflected well in the acoustic passages that occur on songs like ‘Durch Midwinters Tor’. Songs like this even follow , step-by-step, the roots that Diadema Tristis use to make their own music. Whether one is inspired by the other, I do not know, but we can state that they do sound akin to one another. Harsh and clean vocals alongside harsh and clean guitars, which includes emotive acoustics that remind me of nature, or the pale moon shining down on forests below. There are even wind instruments used to align the folk elements together and peacefully encase them in a nature inspired room where they can live life out together. Songs like this seem to be typically designed to impress the listener with V. Wahntraum’s ability to write songs that include experimentation and factor in other genres that instantly make Karg appear less clichéd. These elements are even pushed into the seemingly purely based black metal songs as tracks like ‘Angst’ will highlight. The nature inspired samples, the lonesome flute and the crow all piece the songs introduction together like glue, until the distorted tremolo based guitars and rasping vocals come back to haunt the listener with mesmerising soundscapes that love to indulge in ambiance. Personally, I really like this, despite the lengthy songs that really do need trimming down a tad. I can see fans of depressive black metal liking this and maybe some other fans, who’s tastes might lie in ambient.

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