Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 23:04
Album title: Escape
Release date: 29 April 2016
Label: Prophecy Productions
03. I'll Give Myself To The Wind
04. Under Crimson Skies
06. The Old Dead Tree
07. With The Death Of A Blossoming Flower
The Australian multiinstrumentalist Tim Yatras, best known as a studio member of Woods Of Desolation on their highly acclaimed 2011's masterpiece Torn Beyond Reason, but as well as a full-time or just session, studio or a part-time member in several other bands like are now defunct Austere, Grey Waters, Thy Light,..., now returns with his main solo act Germ. Escape is already the third full-lenght for Germ, plus there was one EP released in between, and this new offering on many levels shows the most audacious and maybe the darkest Tim's work to date. He named his music as experimental depressive black music, but if I'm to analyse Germ's sound a bit deeper, I can say that typical post-metal, blackgaze, depressive black metal, plus some gloomy electronics can be considered as basis, but in contrast to all that the sound has kind of a fascinatinating poppy accessibility. Escape is an autobiographical work and it tackles a feeling of both internal and external imprisonment which strongly influenced Yatras during the songwriting of this album. Tim Yatras was suffering from some kind of a mental illness for years, keeping him trapped within his own mind, and with Escape he looks back thoughtfully on one of the gloomiest periods in his life.
Musically Escape is shining because of great melodic guitar lines, mostly very compressed and dense, creating some stunning captivating ambiances that with ease grabs you and takes you with the flow of the songs. Drums are mostly simplistic, but on several occasions also very tight and powerful, while bass lines don't get so much emphasis in those compositions. Everything gets its final colour with typical depressive black metal kind of shrieks that adds a bit of extremity to the overall sound. Now, if I like a lot those shrieks full of pain and anguish, I was not so much impressed by utilisation and mix of clean vocals at certain points, it often sound so bland and it disenchants the whole feeling, just listen to "Under Crimson Skies" and you'll get my point, but on the other hand it works very well in the closing totally melancholic song "Closer". Still it's a pure joy for us musical adventurists when Germ goes into such a deviant epic darkness and melancholic ambiances with the title track or even better with the epic "The Old Dead Tree", where every single element is just on the right place to let you go out of your mind. In the speeding beginning of "With The Death Of A Blossoming Flower" I can sense some early Burzum elements, but it's the rich, multi layered, yet melodic sound with some dissonant parts and highly atmospheric synths in the background that certainly adds kind of a unique dimension. Germ also isn't estranged to some dark ambient and utilizes it perfectly in the short intermezzo "V". There are all over many nice twists that keeps everything dynamic and throughout rich from many possible aspects.
If you've been searching for something original you won't find it that much in Escape, because at first glance this is more or less just another post-black metal album, but if you like highly emotional, cold, oppressive and dark music that is yet extreme, than Germ's latest album might be a thing worth finding out. In those 45 minutes of playing time it might seduce you and give you that special kind of bittersweet feeling of entrapment into this decadent world and mindless society. There might be no escape from the harsh reality, but it's more than sure that music such as can be heard on Escape certainly eases a bit the whole existential dilemas of wounded minds.
Review written by: T.V.