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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   KRIEG
The Black House
2004
Red Stream
www.destructionritual.com


rating: 5/5

1. Deconstruction Of The Eternal Tombs
2. Deviant
3. Nemesis
4. Fleshprison Monolith
5. Fallen Princes Of Sightless Visions
6. A Process Of Dying
7. Sickening Voices Without Speech
8. Ruin Under A Burning Sky
9. Without Light
10. Murder Without The Burden Of        Conscience
11. Venus In Furs
12. Rooms

Die-hard black metal fans from Europe are probably familiar with Krieg while the ones who are only scratching the surface of the black metal scene know nothing about this group, one of the greatest underground US black metal bands. Krieg was formed in '95 by Lord Imperial under the name of Imperial. Their fist demo, "Endless Path" sold 500 copies. They were forced to change their name to Krieg since there was a rock band already existing with the name Imperial in Europe - this happened in 1997. Their first full-length came out in '98, its title was "Rise Of The Imperial Hordes". Several split records followed and they even released their early materials in 2001 - "The Black Plague". Their second full-length, "Destruction Ritual" came out in 2002. They were busy recording an MCD and their third demo in 2003 and this year finally, we got their third alubm, "The Black House" in our hands. And they did surprise us.

First, let's start with the cover. A black and white pic, that goes hand in hand with the album title. Just looking at the picture gives you shuddering and you can hear the wind wholing and you suddenly feel lonely. It is cold and mysterious, would be the perfect cover pic for a horror book. But it is an album cover and it represents the album very well. The white door of the house is calling for you to enter, and to reveal its secrets. I might have read too many Stephen King before but this picture has the same dusty feeling as some his books have. A small town in the middle of nowhere with inhabitants who know too much about each other...and this house particulary has got a lot to tell...

The other surprise is the music itself. No, do not look forward to big changes but this is their most accessible record so far. They still play grim black metal but this time it is more melodic. They have got pretty fast songs but they slow down more than ever before. They have got better structures and the songs also better worked-out. The sound of the album also also improved but still managed to stay raw and unclean. And everything works for the same purpose, to gain a dark, oppressive atmosphere.

The albums opens with a doomish, slow, instrumental song, "Deconstructing The Eternal Tombs", laying down the concept of the album. The second song, "Deviant" is written in the old vein, fast, traditional black metal but with interesting vocals. Lord Imperial managed to sound understandable though his words are rather unarticulated - and this gives the real raw touch to the song. Similar to "Deviant" are "Nemesis" and "Fleshprison Monolith" - in fact "Deviant" and "Nemesis" are from their "Songs For Resistance" demo (2002). "Nemesis" sounds a bit more epic than the two others, due to the refrain and its catchy melody that you can hear in the background through the whole song. "Fallen Princes Of Sightless Visions" is a mid-paced track, built up from monotone themes. What makes it still interesting is the different vocal styles of Lord Imperial. It ranges from deep growlings to soft whispering. I did not have the lyrics to this song but the music and the changing vocal styles gives the impression we are taking a look into a dying, dark descended mind. The doom stlyed guitars and the fading howlings are really frightening at the end of the song. "A Process Of Dying" is the most suprising song of the album. It sounds monotonous on the first listening but in fact it is the most varied among all of them. So to say it is some kind of progressive old-school black metal while the energetic rhythms of "Sickening Voices Without Speech" gives a thrashy edge to the song, reminding me a bit of Celtic Frost. "Ruin Under A Burning Sky" is from the bands's second original album "Sono Il Scherno" and sometimes it gets too melodic. Some songs from "Sono Il Scherno" were put on their split record with Kult ov Azazel but the entire album never got released. "...Without Light" is a slow, very dark piece, mournful and filled with pain. After this song "Murder Without The Burden Of Conscience" is a brutal attack with the chaotic music and with the dry death metal drummings. "Venus In Furs" is a Velvet Underground cover song. The acoustic guitars and the grim black metal vocals together creatin a surrealistic, quiet world. Awesome cover version! A short, instrumental song "Rooms" closes the album. Melacholic guitars and different landscape sounds say good-bye to us.

As I said above, do not look for groundbreaking musical ideas on this album. But if you want to hear gloomy black metal that will haunt you, in the vein of old Scandinavian bands, "The Black House" is definitely the right choice for you.

submitted by Katalin 04.09.2004

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