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TOTENGEFLÜSTER - Totleben's In-Depth Insight Into His Most Influential Albums

When we asked some of the musicians to send us their top 5 best or most influential albums, some of them were really enthused about this idea and we decided to make a special full article about their inspirations and influences. One of them is our friend Totleben, a guitarist/composer in German symphonic black metallers Totengeflüster. Beside that he's also an artist, a graphic designer who made many well known artworks for some notable metal bands from all around the world like are Keep Of Kalessin, Necronomicon (Can), Unlight, Imperium Dekadenz, Totengeflüster,... Totleben gave us an insight into his five most influential albums, not only from the musical side but as well from visual side.
Totengeflüster released their stunning debut album Vom Seelensterben in February 2013 as a self-release, it was also selected as album of the month on Terra Relicta. Now Totengeflüster are working on their sophomore album which is already recorded and now the band is waiting to release it.
Let's now give a word to Totleben: "First. When I was asked to name my top five albums I already stormed through my head and thought: “How is it even possible to reduce my choices to five albums”. Well I really need to say that this is not easy at all and a lot of compromises need to be done. Another important, non-metal thing is the fact that actually a lot of my inspiration and “top” music is actually cinematic or orchestral music. For those who are interested in my top five metal albums... here we go:"

1. Cradle Of Filth - Damnation And A Day

"For me THE Cradle Of Filth Album. I really do love their earlier albums as well but Damnation And A Day is more than an usual metal album for me. It’s like a big blockbuster movie with its own story and cinematic feel to it. The powerful bow of tension that goes through the whole album with its incredible length is absolutely outstanding. Every song is unique and well balanced. There is absolutely nothing I miss on this album. For me it’s a perfect album.
The artwork created by John Coulthart was absolutely outstanding. Cradle Of Filth is known for their viusals and graphic motives. In this album I really liked the way the booklet was designed and that nearly every song had a individual story to tell. I liked the cover as well but the treasure lays within the booklet pages. The fact that there was such a amount of images inspired me a lot for the design of our first album Vom Seelensterben. Our debut album was more or less a concept album which had a whole story – to visualize this tale I created one artwork for each song."

2. Dissection - Storm Of The Light’s Bane

"This album is important to me because it was so different from everything else I knew at the time this album was released. The songwriting is fantastic and is full of own ideas which does never get me to the feeling like I had heard one of the riffs before on another record of a different band. I practiced a lot of their songs when I started learning guitar on my own.
Necrolords paintings inspired me a lot. Storm Of The Light’s Bane and Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse were so rich on details and passion. This richness is something I tried to add in the frontcover for Necronomicon's Rise Of The Elder Ones and the cover I did for Keep Of Kalessin' Heaven Of Sin EP."

3. Dimmu Borgir - Stormblast

"The atmosphere on this album is still outstanding. I never found any album out there which combined so much different levels into one album. The songwriting as well as how they were performed really inspired me at that time. The way Dimmu Borgir dressed at this time really inspired me as well and still does.
The frontcover artwork was amazing and epic. The thing that inspired me more was the way the members were shown. The frames for each member and the individual names worked into their frames was a fantastic idea."

4. Darkthrone - Panzerfaust

"Again atmosphere and emotion on a black metal album at its best. Darkthrone created black – directly from the deepest forest cold and raw sounds and combined them with pure emotion. The song "Quintessence" and "Hans siste vinter" really touched me and are still one of my favourite black metal songs ever.
The simplicity of this cover with so much atmosphere into it was fantastic. Sometimes its good to let the possible power of photoshop untouched and to create something with another way of impact. The way the album is produced and the way I think it wants to get understood is not in the path of a modern or polished production. It needs to be raw, it needs to be pure and unedited. I took inspiration from this Darkthrone album for the artwork I did for Imperium DekadenzMeadows Of Nostalgia. Which is also following a pure and more back to the roots path."

5. Enthroned - Xes Haereticum

"The speed, the aggression and the sharp, pure Sound of this album blew my mind. It’s a black metal warmachine without compromise. I really enjoy listening to this album while driving with my car. It's all a good black metal album needs to have. It’s a deadly weapon.
A powerful and majestic Artwork for a powerful album. I really liked the surreal and creative style of the graphics. The artwork directly showed me something new, a different world."

"I also would like to mention my cinematic and non-metal inspiration because it’s important to my musical creations: Danny Elfman (Tim Burton Movies) and Howard Shore (The Lord Of The Rings).
And again – there is soooooooooooo much beautiful music out there … this is just a small tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to Terra Relicta for this. Greetings and Horns up, Totleben of Totengeflüster."

Totengeflüster links: Official website, Facebook
Metal Artworks: Facebook