I had a big problem with the new STURMGEIST at first. And to be blunt, if this was an album from a newcomer band or a band I gave a first listen, I’d put it away and label it “boring”. Because in the genre it claims to be, namely Black Metal, there are far more interesting, far more sophisticated and far more darker and agressive albums. BUT:
I suggest before you read this review any further, read the interview with the mind behind “Manifesto Futurista”, Cornelius von Jackhelln. Why is this? Because the person who wrote that album IS no newcomer, and his take on Black Metal HAS to be put in context with his work. Much as you could claim everyone could draw stickmans like Picasso – this is wrong, not everyone can. Picasso perfected nearly every drawing and painting technique before he was able to make a living from stickmans, and Cornelius von Jackhelln perfected a few metal styles himself before recording “Manifesto Futurista” (and just to get that out of the way, the style of this album is not in any way Avantgarde. It is what von Jackhelln intended with STURMGEIST in the first place: Plain Metal. No experimentations, minimality with the riffs, dominating Blastbeats. Agression, straightforward. Nothing else). And the simplicity of the style might prove disappointing for fans of Cornelius’ previous work, as it happened to me at first.
In the Interview I labelled von Jackhelln a “Freigeist”, a freethinker: “Manifesto Futurista” sounds a lot more restrained, more forced. As if something surpressed Cornelius freedom to experiment, to do what he wants. So let’s take a look at the conditions the album was conceived under: Under heavy pressure of the press (now if that isn’t a pun!) because of the Tuusla-killings (see Interview part II) – something which should nettle every misunderstood creative and freethinking mind – von Jackhelln must have build up a lot of anger and steam, and “Manifesto Futurista” sounds like the album such a mind would use as a clearance attack to rid himself from forces subdueing him. I sincerely doubt “Manifesto Futurista” would have sounded as it does if Cornelius had not been, so to speak, overrun by these circumstances. Just take the lyrics of “Sturmgeist_89” to understand what the man must have felt as his mind-child STURMGEIST was misused and misinterpreted in a way he did not intended it to be.
With this in mind I feel it more and more compelling to listen to the album. Standalone and musically, I have to say that it might not be of much relevance and even as a third STURMGEIST-album it does not reach the expectations I (and maybe other people) had; but as a piece in the puzzle that forms the creative force Cornelius von Jackhelln it does make sense. It does make sense as an artistic expression, as a statement even if you consider the context in which the album was made. If this sounds as if I was defending a mediocre album – It’s not that easy. You could say that to be fair and objective, I’d have to evaluate every circumstance of every other band too if I do this with STURMGEIST, and I’d tell you: No, I do not have to. Von Jackhelln has proven that his creative power is one to be reckoned with and that he is able to deliver a vast range of musical styles with grace which is something not every band or musician can claim for them-/himself. Much as Picasso has proven his immense talent through vast styles of art and succeeding in every single one before drawing stickmans, where others just reproduce stereotypes.
So, to sum it up – “Manifesto Futurista” is something which should be seen as a part in the overall picture. This is the place intended for it, and this is where it starts to become good; after the interview I daresay I understand why it is what it is and with my view on the album shifted and explained by Cornelius himself I started to like it. It is not that it has grown on me from bad to good as a process, it is more that it made “snap” and I realized I had approached it from the completely wrong point of view, and with the wrong expectations. So yet again, I strongly urge you to read the interview, and it wouldn’t hurt to listen to a few more albums von Jackhelln has participated in – otherwise it might not be possible to understand what the statement, the manifesto of “Manifesto Futurista” is.
01 – Monolith
02 – Himmelen Faller
03 – The Siegfried Order
04 – Skyggestrykerne
05 – Verdun
06 – Elegie D’Une Modernite Meurtriere
07 – Ritorno Glorioso
08 – Manifesto Futurista
09 – Sturmgeist_89
11 – Let Us Be The Suns Of Our Time