Published on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 19:17
Album title: Rooms
Release date: 26 February 2016
Label: Supreme Chaos Records
Germans Todtgelichter went through some turbulent times lately with all those castlings inside their line-up (the biggest change is that their female vocalist Marta took over almost all of the vocal duties, yes, even the harsh ones), but since the core of the band remains stable, it seems that there are no worries that this combo won't deliver another great experiment done in their own way. A follow up to 2013's almost scorned Apnoe; an album which I liked quite a lot and most obviously I was one of rare persons to do so; is not just a mere continuation of it, Todtgelichter decided to do it with more control this time and they didn't want to get ahead of time, rather than that Rooms seems like being a missing link between Angst from 2010 and before mentioned Apnoe. The new offering from this band is again one very bold release, worth the name Todtgelichter, who are without any doubt one of rare bands that is not afraid to do original things.
While they stick loyal to their formula of a minimalistic cover artwork and "one word" album title, music is far away from that, it has so many different elements, constant changes from one mood into another, it's multi layered, rich, yet melodic and atmospheric, with quite a lot of melancholy and almost theatrical grips. From track to track you'll be feeling just like walking from one room into another. The smell of their early black metal days is back again here and there, but what's most surprising is the implement of a vintage 70s psychedelic scent thanks to new compositional techniques and most of all to use of church organ which when used creates highly evocative, almost occultistic ambiance. But that's far from everything, Todtgelichter are most of all an extreme progressive metal band making avantgarde metal, and once you'll hear additions of modern electronics, solemn gothy keys, ambiental parts, harmonious post-metal lines and atmospheric dark doom metal, everything blended so well together, it's sure that we deal with a band of professionals and highly creative musicians who are not afraid to make experiments. Great complex guitar riffing and solos, amazing drumming, strong bass lines and devilish screams combined with quite emotive clean vocals are without any doubt worth all the respect even from the most demanding type of listeners.
Rooms is in its basis an extreme metal album and tracks like the multicoloured opener "Ghost" or "Schrein", already in the beginning show that this is nothing but a true sonic adventure. Believe me that you won't get bored for a second. I like it when they loosen up with dark cinematic medieval soundscapes in "Lost" or in psychedelic futuristic ambiances of "Necromant", or when everything becomes very dramatic in "Shinigami", and when the nostalgic melodic guitar lines in kind of a bipolarity converge with punishing thrash metal anger in "Zuflucht". Then the typical Todtgelichter's avantgarde sound with a pinch of atmospheric trip-hop metal, like we know it from the past is present in the "4JK", but it's with "Origin" where the band shows its huge versatility and love towards 70s/80s psychelic rock, which they implemented so very well into their own sound, just to create even more subtle and dense soundscape. Rooms ends with soothing dark notes of atmospheric "Pacific" and leaves kind of a mixed aftertaste, not a bad one, contrary, on a first place the listener will be wanting for more of this adventurous musical experience, just to be sure to get everything it offers in its 52 minutes of a playtime, and believe me that albums like this must be heard several times to be grasped in its entirety, it's not an easy listen, so be also aware that you must approach to it with an open mind.
Todtgelichter with this album are on a mission to take the throne of avantgarde metal. Rooms is one of the most elaborated albums this band did so far, it's dark enough, it embraces with kind of shifts between coldness and warmth. Also from the lyrical side where they deal with death, memories, and the demons that accompanied a difficult time for the founding members, it offers a lot to think about and keep you focused. Even if it doesn't reach the heights of their ultimate masterpiece Angst, Rooms is still a must and from my side very recommended album. Also from the productional side it's more than ok, it might not be as clean as somebody would expect, but I find this kind of rather rough sound more than just appropriate for those compositions as it adds certain charm and elegance. Good job Todtgelichter!
Review written by: T.V.