This autumn has been fruitful for Metal. Not exactly for its avantgarde-moments, true – but the new albums of BEHEMOTH, IMMORTAL, NILE and DARK FUNERAL did put an end to my non-metal mood of the last weeks and enabled me to finally write this review of NEBELKRAEHE’s debut “Entfremdet”. Which is nowhere near the aforementioned albums musically, but then again if it was, it needn’t be featured here.
The first glance at the cover promises something different. The segment of an abstract piece of art somewhere in the vicinity of the paintings of Emil Schumacher is a real eye-catcher and a first sign of NEBELKRAEHE’s unconventional take on Black Metal. Yeah, Black Metal – that’s what it is, clad in new and ambitioned ideas. The lyrics mostly pay hommage to german romanticism in their structures, while the title track “Entfremdet” seems heavily inspired by Plato’s allegory of the cave.
If I had to draw comparisons to other bands and to give possible listeners something to orientate, you could sort NEBELKRAEHE somewhere between KLABAUTAMANN and NOCTE OBDUCTA. The whole concept and it’s approach/ambition is very near the latter mentioned, while the tendency to break with conventional Black Metal structures and the spontaneous jazzy drum-eruptions like in the beginning of the title-track seems to bear KLABAUTAMANN-esque handwriting. “Dem Alb entronnen, so nah dem Traum”, an instrumental, features some of the best guitar-ideas of the album and offers calm experimental parts with a hint (but really only a little) at 70-ies rock. Song structures vary for each song, moods change from aggressive to groovy to progressive, from thrashy to melodic to calm. The vocals try to vary with growls, screams and clean singing and succeed in giving a convincing perfomance for the most parts.
Which brings me to a few points of criticism. The clean vocals need some more practice; besides the fact that the singer can hit the right notes it sounds a little too weak. And I have to say that this counts for the rest of the instrumentation as well- the overall sound is okay for a self-produced album, and while all in all it is a good demo sound it does not (yet) justice to the potential I see in NEBELKRAEHE. The guitar sound is not as high-pitched as your average BM-album, but it lacks depth. Furthermore, the bass guitar seems to repeat the guitar melodies for 90% of the album, which makes the whole thing a bit thin. And there is one or the other playing mistake but that is something which can be overseen; some uncertain hits on the drums and some unclean accords on guitars but really faint, at a level where you speak sympathetically of authenticity rather than lack of talent.
Note that lack of talent is something NEBELKRAEHE do luckily lack at all. In fact, colleague Falk wrote on Metal.de of “Entfremdet” as an ambitioned album with small flaws, and that is something I’d underline. “Entfremdet” might not yet be the album NEBELKRAEHE are capable of recording, but a great step in that direction and an impression of the potential that slumbers within them. If the flaws I mentioned are erased with the next output, NEBELKRAEHE will surely join the ranks of german BM-bands the like I mentioned earlier. Either way one should keep an eye on them, these days it doesn’t happen that often that a new BM-band comes forth with fresh ideas.
01 – Blick Vom Ebenholzturm
02 – Über Den Fluss Hinweg
03 – Lichtbringer
04 – Mein Ungleich’ Ebenbild
05 – Dem Alb Entronnen, So Nah Dem Traum
06 – Als Meine Augen Ich Aufschlug…
07 – Gewissheit
08 – Et In Arcadia Ego