Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Waldgeflüster - Stimmen Im Wind 2020


Labels: Nordvis Produktion
Formats: Vinyl (inc. CD)/Digital
Release Date: 10 Jan 2020

Tracklist:

1. Morgendämmerung
2. Waldgeflüster
3. Vintersjäl
4. Wotan Sang
5. Wenn Die Bäume
6. Abendämmerung

It’s an immense achievement for a band to still be making music after fifteen years. Waldgeflüster has grown from a solo-project to a full band in that time, with five full-length albums and split making up the quintets main body of work. It all started with this demo back in 2006 though. Now, as they head into 2020 and their fifteenth anniversary year, the time has come to not only look back at what started it all but to also bring that first demo to new, eager ears. "Stimmen Im Wind" was originally distributed on tape by now defunct German label Irminsul Records and now it is seeing it's first release on vinyl (which also includes a cd) via Swedish label Nordvis Produktion.

Waldgeflüster’s insistence on re-recording their debut demo for this release shows that while they’re not ignoring their roots, they are updating their sound to bring “Stimmen Im Wind” in line with their progression over recent years. It works very well because their atmospheric and sometimes barbaric black metal comes to life even more. Opener Morgendämmerung is a majestic one, with melodic and spacey guitar work and synths both complimenting and filling the gaps in between the rifling percussion and those harsh, sometimes industrial-like screams. 

The title-track is immediately triumphant as it reflects the prominence of modern day black metal, while still keeping faith with the sound that carved the genres backbone. The main riff that repeats during the opening ninety-seconds is glorious and uplifting and while that may not have been the original intention of Waldgeflüster, it certainly works within the song, which spans over ten-minutes in length. That’s not the only talking point here though. What’s also striking is the forays into folk, the use of clean vocals and the way that the band’s Germanic heritage remains throughout. 

The shorter Vintersjäl contains a much murkier atmosphere. At first it seems almost sludge-like before the layers and tempos build back up to full-flow during the mid-section. The shift in sound is subtle but it just shows how even the simplest of changes in dynamics can have a big impact on a band’s music, even on the same release. The orchestral feel is epic and the momentum stays high. Demos can always be a bit daunting for both band and listener but I get the impression that when “Stimmen Im Wind” was originally released, it was always approached as something a whole lot more. It comes across as being way more accomplished to these ears anyway.

Dense as it is, Waldgeflüster’s black metal exhibits a warmness that you don’t find with a lot of black metal, even nowadays and that more than likely stems from how experienced they are as a collective now. Wotan Sang Is once again a lengthier song but it manages to steer away from the martial tones that lead to muddiness and unnecessary repetition. There’s even room amongst it bars for what  sounds like old-school speed/traditional metal riffs for a brief moment or two (at least that’s what they sound like to me). 

Each song on here follows on from the last with ease, as if this body of work was meant as one long piece instead of the six individual ones that it became. The brief gap that leads into Wenn Die Bäume only reinforces that opinion when the intro gives way to a towering verse of both harsh vocals and clean melodies. Quiet acoustic parts again focus of the band’s folk-leanings, while the peace shattering way in which they launch back into full-band mode is not so much there for shock value, but more for continuation. The transitions are abrupt, which isn’t a descriptor that springs to mind very often when listening to this demo. 

As it began, “Stimmen Im Wind” closes with a slightly shorter piece and with Abendämmerung, Waldgeflüster does so in the best way possible. The acoustic calmness and the musicality/melody is perfect. It’s strange calling this a demo when it clocks in at over forty-minutes but semantics have never really been at the forefront of this review. What has been at it’s forefront is the way the music makes you feel and the professionalism with which it’s delivered. If you’re new to Waldgeflüster and don’t know where to head first, I’d suggest starting at the beginning with this. It will open your ears and mind up to a band that deserve so much praise and reverence. Breathtaking.

Digital and physical pre-orders are now available the band's Bandcamp page below, where the title-track is also available for streaming:-



Nordvis Produktion - https://www.facebook.com/nordvis/

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