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(Dolch) - III - Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise (2017)

Band: (Dolch)
Album title: III - Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise
Release date: 10 November 2017
Label: Ván Records

01. Opening Speech
02. Intro mit Pauken und Trompeten
03. The River
04. Siren
05. Hydroxytryptamin Baby I
06. Track Six
07. 100000 Days

Not much is known about this mysterious Berlin based duo named (Dolch), they have no official website, no Facebook, nothing is known, except that they released the album, actually a collection of demos named I & II in 2015, a split with their label mate King Dude in 2016, and now this album, III: Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise, on the very same day (Dolch) also released a two track EP named An den Mond. Just like almost everything around this German duo is kept in the fog, also Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise dwells in the same enviroment, it's a whimsical, mystical, atmospheric and sustained music for those who are embracing the darkness in its most gritty form.

I came to this album coincidentally while I was browsing through all available promos that came lately to my address, and the name (Dolch), meaning dagger in German, took my interest, and after the unnecessary intro telling us with computerized voice something like "thank you for buying this record...", I was a bit confused if this is even a proper album, but the music of (Dolch) immediately took me into another space and time, this sound made by this two artists is from another planet and the four proper tracks available here are absolutely stunning to say at least. Although the title says that these are songs of happiness, believe me that it's nothing like that, this music is utterly melancholic, with no space for light to come through.

Prepare for an otherworldly sonic adventure when the eight minutes long "The River" starts, and believe me that if you'll be in the right mood for this hypnotizing occult soundscapes, Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise, won't leave your player that easily. Distant male and alienated yet ethereal female voices garnish over the doomy droneing wall of sound. Everything is pretty obscure, with hints of kraut rock that sometimes in certain segments resemble to Der Blutharsch mixed with Chelsea Wolfe, Dead Can Dance and Bauhaus, but the thing is much more psychedelic, insane and dark, to a certain degree also depressive and strangely ironic.

"Siren" is another haunting sonic experience, with pummeling percussion, many effects used on droneing guitars, cosmic synths, it creates kind of a deep and claustrophobic ritualistic atmosphere. "Hydroxytryptamin Baby I" sounds like some kind of psychotic occultistic ritual, quite odd and minimalistic with pulsating electronic beats and repetitive female voice reciting the same all thing over and over again. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty addictive. "Track Six" is a 14 seconds long speech that should be played in reverse, but as the voice said in the intro it works only on vinyl. In the end we are left to float in the vast dark universe with more than 18 minutes long beauty named "100000 Days". This is the track where (Dolch) shows all their artistical ability. All the elements mentioned before are now enriched with some subtle black metal undertone and noisy guitars that offer kind of a multidimensional sound. Pure darkened occultistic sound, a real delicacy that has the ability to addict if you have the guts to enter this unadulterated cosmic darkened world.

(Dolch)'s Songs Of Happiness... Words Of Praise is not an easy listen, but it's not that complex either, it's more likely so very confusing and hypnotic, dark and avantgardish, very atmospheric, demonic, ethereal and transcedental. Throughout the album there are many captivating melodies hidden to the plain hearing, but are slowly unveiling after every consequent listen. In the end I can easily say that this album is a great listening experience, you won't find that easily something alike. Maybe the rough production could be a bit better, but on the other hand if offers kind of a sonic depth appropriate for these tracks. (Dolch) are ahead of its time, and if I understand it right then this album is just an example of what we should expect from them in the future, and if this is true than I'm already hooked.

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