Friday, May 20, 2011

Dämmerfarben - Im Abendrot (2011)

Germany's Dämmerfarben are cut from a different cloth. Started as a solo project, and developing into a full blown band, they have formed a style that separates them from the rest. For despite being classified as everything from black metal to ambient, doom to acoustic, they have managed to be all of them without favoring one.

"Wandernd," a short, string driven introduction is an appetizer for the forthcoming feast. The chirping of birds gives way to a simple, but enchanting guitar harmony. An effects tinged guitar melody breaks into distorted riffs on "Nebel und Regen," slowing to a near halt before the tempo picks up. The constant thumping of the kick drum is like a rolling thunder, clearing the way for a violin to enter the fold. The bass shines through, taking the lead. After a lengthy instrumental, black metal styled vocals cut through the air. But the ever present strings keep the song grounded, all the way to its conclusion.

The folk metal influences come out in "Graues Land," with a jaunty musical lead, uptempo and bright. Vocals enter, as abrasive as any you have heard from the Norwegian black metal masters. They will grind on your ears, but in the best possible way. A stunning acoustic outro takes up the better part of two minutes, and will leave you impressed, if not a little bewildered. The beautiful musicianship carries over to "Oktobersturm," which wastes little time before bringing out the big guns. High tempo kick/snare/cymbal drumming bcks a driving distorted guitar. Screeching and deep screams echo throughout, fading away to yet another soft outro.

"Einsamkeit" is a work of art and simplicity. The violin returns, joined by soft guitars. The delicate patter of raindrops bookends an endearing acoustic track. "Regen in der Dammerung" brings the thunder back, in both bass and drum form. The earth shaking low end provides the perfect backdrop for the entrance of synthesizers. A winding guitar melody shares time with distorted riffs, punctuated by the tortured screams. The title track, "Im Abendrot" plays out like an epic love song. Once again, violin takes the fore, allowing each piece of the puzzle to join. The wall builds, forming an all out assault of sound. The more aggressive moments of the album come here, with high speed guitar picking and strumming, slamming head on into the clang and sizzle of cymbals and snare. The song hits its high point, then is deconstructed, ending where it began.

The opening half of "Nachtgedanken" is the closest you will to come to pure black metal on this disc, with the harsh vocals taking command. But, as with all of the tracks on the album, it quickly changes. Acoustic guitars duel, playing off of one another in a beautiful battle. The hard and heavy return, only to fade away in a simple outro. Piano keys catch your ear to begin "Hinaus in die Nacht," playing a dark melody. Ringing distortion comes, but does not lead to the explosion you may expect. It is merely a background to acoustic picking. Keys and guitars unite for the finale.

There is no easy way to classify what you will hear on this offering. Well executed and, at times, atmospheric in delivery, "Im Abendrot" is a musical journey that might not be fully understood after the first listen. You, like many others, may find yourself waiting for the hammer to drop, and the shredding to begin. But the band accomplish something intriguing. They make an album with clear black metal aspirations that is more beauty than beast.


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