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Album Review: EISENKULT – …gedenken wir der Fisnteris

8 Reviewer
Score

Eisenkult are a black metal fan's black metal band. Their music revolves around tropes we all love. They infuse classic second wave black metal ideas with hints of dungeon synth. The gnarled vocals and droning guitars are fascinating. Eisenkult capture the imagination while staying very much within the confines of the genre. With their debut offering, …gedenken wir der Fisnteris ("Let us remember the darkness") the band manages to dominate in two key ways. First, their ability to call back to classic ideas without sounding dated really makes them a potent force. When this is paired with the tasteful use of synths and stellar production it becomes clear, this band is a cut above the rest. Eisenkult are unafraid to fulfill their artistic vision and go beyond the status quo.

Listening to Eisenkult is uniquely delightful because of their ability to dart from influence to influence. While one song might start with an idea clearly inspired by Immortal it can transition to something closer to Gorgoroth by the end. Tasteful melodies a la Dissection help make some of these songs much more accessible than conventional German black metal fare. While this certainly is not on the more mainstream side of things, the wealth of influences makes it less alienating. With …gedenken wir der Finsternis we get a record that distills the magic of North European black metal but doesn't get lost in intellectualized detours. It strips the genre back to its core, then adds some tasteful frills.

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There's also the use of keys. The classically inspired piano interlude is a particular highlight. This marks a wonderful counterpoint to the very Mortiis-esque use of dungeon synths. Synths on tracks like the richly composed title track do wonders for the atmosphere. This is key to making the record accessible. Monochromatic black metal riffs are richly empowered by the synth padding. There certainly are moments of this that are guitar-driven, as evident on the excellent "Ein endloses Nichts." Still, the majority of tracks are nicely enhanced by the keyboards. The production also deserves a nod. The band has been able to take some fairly straightforward ideas and enrich them into something thrilling. It makes for a dynamic record. The swirls and eddies of …gedenken wir der Finsternis enchant the listener.

Black metal is in an interesting place right now. The diaspora of subgenres in the late Aughts has led to all sorts of unique sounds. Eisenkult are among the few bands who were able to identify this and then distill it down. They took these core ideas and crafted them into something greater. This is a grandiose record to be sure. It is also one that speaks to the human condition. It profits from a diversity of influences and rich synths which help to accentuate stellar songwriting. …gedenken wir der Finsternis might not be a perfect album, but it is one that nicely highlights what is great about black metal today. There's a lot to sink one's teeth into here. After all, the kvlt is alive, and Eisenkult won't let you forget it!

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