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Winterblood - Herbstsehnsucht (2013) - Review

Band: Winterblood
Album title: Herbstsehnsucht
Release date: May 2013
Label: Le Crépuscule du Soir Productions

01. Nur der Tod hat mir Erlösung gebracht
02. Mit jedem Abschied wird Erinnerung geboren
03. Raserei des Meeres
04. Dernière
05. My Eternal Grave
06. Herbstehnsucht
07. Saturnnebel
08. Dernière (Instrumental Version)

An innocent photo of autumn leaves on the front cover and then a band name like Winterblood must make you think of some kind of ambiguity. And that's what the debut album from German band Winterblood offers. It comes taged as avantgarde black metal, but I'm not so sure if this labelling is an appropriate one for their musical outcome. The band started their musical career back in 2007 and it took them six years to finally make this album. The result is somehow pretty good, but once you begun to drill into details you notice that there are many things that could be done better.

Eight tracks with almost sixty minutes of music have its basis in that raw black metal sound that originated in Norway back in early 90's. First album of mighty Mayhem, then Burzum, Darkthrone and other "kvlt" names come in mind. Especially the shrieking vocals reminded me a lot to the late Dead, for many the only "tr00" vocalist of Mayhem. But as soon as the album starts with "Nur der Tod hat mir Erlösung gebracht" the listener must notice a huge influence of so called depressive suicidal black metal and Swedish Shining or early Forgotten Tomb comes in mind. It's quite passionate and it has that special sadness and desperation in it, the same feeling then continues in the next one "Mit jedem Abschied wird Erinnerung geboren". Guitars have that typical undergroundish flavour that with melancholic melodies create quite outstanding atmospheres, but I don't know what was the reason that they inserted some really badly interpreted, half-spoken clean vocals, like on "Raserei des Meeres". I was neither impressed with those male operatic singing. It works a bit forced, just to insert something different, ok, there are some occasions where it deepens the atmosphere, but they should think a little bit more when's the right moment to insert something and break the ambiance that it was not an easy thing to achieve. I'm not saying that those vocals are bad in any way, just the momentum is sometimes wrong.

Winterblood are capable to be innovative and are certainly bringing some freshness into the genre, there are parts that could be counted as avantgardish. I was very impressed with albums title track, melancholic semi ballad "Herbstsehnsucht" and also "Dernière", both with a combination of acoustic and aggressive guitar passages offer a lot and are nicely flowing, here the dual clean/harsh vocal job is fantastic. In between before mentioned tracks there comes typical black metal devastation with "My Eternal Grave", the fastest and the most diabolical track up here. Top notch drumming and great speeding guitars won't leave any black metal fan cold. Another jevel is "Saturnnebel", the tempo changes are executed very well and the band shows that they are familiar also with death and doom metal. Everything ends with an instrumental version "Dernière".

Herbstsehnsucht (English translation: Yearning For Autumn) is after all an impressive debut album and Winterblood are a band that should be followed, as they have an outstanding talent and a great compositional sense. They've made an album that is quite complex and is not an easy listen,... after all this is avantgarde... There are things that could be done better or left outside, like I've said before I had a feeling here and there that they wanted to insert some things at any cost, no matter what will be the outcome. Sometimes it's better to leave the things breath and don't break them. The production and the final mix could be better, as the vocals are too much fronted and some instruments are a bit to blury, but we heard much worse things before, and after a few listens I got accustomed with that. For now I'll be curiously waiting for their next step.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10