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Todtgelichter - Apnoe (2013) - Review

Band: Todtgelichter
Album title: Apnoe
Release date: 15 April 2013
Label: Code666 Records

01. Embers
02. Lights Of Highways
03. Expectations
04. Kollision
05. Beyond Silence (feat. Daniel Brennare of Lake Of Tears)
06. Soil
07. Odem
08. Until It All Begins
09. Tiefer Fall (feat. Allen B. Konstanz of The Vision Bleak) (Bonus)
10. Torn

Since I've heard Todtgelichters previous album Angst I've been hooked by this band and Apnoe was for me one of the most anticipated albums of 2013. Their special blend of avantgarde metal, extremely catchy melodies and scent of black metal on Angst pushed this German unique band on the peak of avantgarde metal of today. Yet I was a bit afraid when I've heard of some line-up changes, especially with vocals, because I just admired harsh male vocals on before mentioned album. Their past in black metal waters where the band made a huge impact with their first two studio albums, Was Bleibt... in 2005 and Schemen in 2007 is behind them now, completely. Todtgelichter have signalized that they are on a new musical path with Angst, but such a huge change really wasn't expected. Many bands have tried with those turnarounds, but hardly anyone succeeded in first try, believe me that these Germans have. Apnoe, Todtgelichter's fourth album is a masterpiece by all means.

Yeah, Apnoe is an adventure. There are still connections with Angst from 2010, some songs have similar pathos and those who enjoyed Marta's vocals before will have here much more joy, the band included substantially more female vocals. The opener "Embers" is the song that connects Apnoe with Angst, but also shows that we must prepare for something that was never witnessed before. It's hard to imagine that so many various musical elements such as progressive metal, atmospheric rock, alternative rock, typical avantgarde metal, shoegaze and even hard rock, classic heavy metal, trip hop, plus tiny dose of black metal, doom metal and gothic metal parts, jazzy, pop, psychedelic and classical elements and yet much more can be combined in such a flowing, emotional and dynamic musical soundscape. Let's say this is post-metal and without any doubt this is the release that sets a reference for future of metal music.

Apnoe is full of experimentations, it's a complex album, but this fact doesn't mean that this album is kind of laceration, contrary. Almost each song has the structure that leads the listener in some sort of climax, just listen for example how everything develops on "Beyond Silence", on this song we can hear as a guest Daniel Brennare from Swedish legends Lake Of Tears. Guitar work is amazing, there are a lot of those marvelous melodic lines that we enjoyed before on Angst (remember the song "Neon"?), then top notch leads, some semi acoustic insertions and typical avantgarde guitar lines. Bass lines and drum work is amazing, not to mention the vocal job. I knew that Marta has an outstanding voice which has even matured, take for example the song "Soil", where she can sing really hauntingly dark, somehow similar to Monica Richards and transforms her voice into something that can be compared with catchiness of Anneke Van Giersbergen on the same track, or even more evident on calm "Until It Bleeds". New addition to band Tobias is also a great singer, he can deal with black metal influenced harsh vocals, as with more hard rocking ones like nothing. The duets between two are breathtaking and very atmospheric, you just have to experience this. The use of cello on before mentioned "Until It Bleeds" really deepens the atmosphere on this track, which has similar development of events as The Gathering used to do on How To Measure A Planet?.

If we were used to get a lot of German lyrics from Todtgelichter before, I must tell you that there is only one song in this language and even this is just as a bonus. Though, I must admit that "Tiefer Fall" is one amazing groovy track with great drive and splendid vocal performance from both protagonists, Marta and guest vocalist Allen B. Konstanz (The Vision Bleak). In a way it reminded me to latest more straight work from Lacrimosa, mixed with some Rammstein, probably because of vocals, but it's a bit of injustice to compare Todtgelichter with before mentioned acts. The band also tried themselves in dark atmospheric ambient waters on "Kollision", just to let the listener to get some breath. I can't forget to mention "Odem" and its wide range of sounds that are arranged so well that left me almost speechless. The last track on the album is the one that reminds us where are the roots of Todtgelichter and shows all the qualities and talent from all members. "For a new beginning" sings Tobias and he's right. This is really a new beginning for the band and they've started it in a huge impressive manner.

Apnoe is without doubt one of albums that will compete for album of the year. There is simply nothing to be criticized, yet everything remains in the eye of the beholder, still I'm sure that album like this that sets new limits in modern metal scene must be praised by all those who search for something innovative and yet done in a professional manner. Lyrics are thoughtful and as the album title suggest it deals with a state of breathlessness, which the band applied to the society and human state of today. Album artwork leaves also a lot of questions open, like on previous album with its minimalistic concept. Production done by Eike Freese who worked before with the likes as Gamma Ray, Oomph!, Eisbrecher,... is amazing and adds a lot of atmosphere to the sole music. The only problem is that even if album contains almost 50 minutes of music is somehow to short. Beautiful!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10