Tyakrah – Wintergedanken

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label: Satanath Records
Distributor/Label URL: http://www.satanath.com/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat181-tyakrah-wintergedanken-2017
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/tyakrah/

BAND LINE-UP:

I.XII – Guitar, Bass & Keyboard,
J.R. – Vocals & Drums.

TRACK LISTING:

1. Praeludium – Auf Kalten Wegen
2. Gefrorne Tränen
3. Wintergedanken
4. Interludium – Eisige Andacht
5. Fährten Im Schnee
6. Erstarrende Nacht
7. Postludium – Ende Des Weges

REVIEW

We all know how unforgiving black metal can be. Whether we’re talking it’s uncompromising belief that the only way to reach the listener’s core is to blast and shred away at it with a ferocious sonic assault, or the no-excuses stance that “you’re with us, or you’re against us”. It would explain why so many black metal bands, namely those who peddle a more modern take, are shunned by the elder statesmen (and the keyboard gremlins when they venture forth from the dark). Whether the latter attitude plays on the minds of any new act as they prepare a new release, is definitely up for debate. Enter, TYAKRAH.

Hailing from Germany, this duo has existed since 2016, so have wasted no time at all in producing a debut full length in the chilling “Wintergedanken”. What’s delightfully apparent is the care given to the production: clear, precise and with just a pinch of rawness about the edges that nods to the genre’s scratchy origins. The and again, bands opt for the latter in a worrying shift to style over substance. TYAKRAH, opt for the former.

From the opening prelude – the aptly-titled “Praeludium – Auf Kalten Wegen” – it’s clear that the band have eyes firmly on the grandiose. Lush orchestrations compliment an icy barrage of arpeggiated riffs, fiery tremolo and powerhouse drumming – it sounds every bit the soundtrack to the oncoming winter. From the outset of the album’s true curtain-raiser, “Geforne Tränen” grinds along like a trudge through a worsening blizzard, with a keen eye for songwriting and atmosphere very much demonstrable. It’s encouraging to see newer bands taking into consideration the slower elements to black metal, rather than lumping straight for the tremolo riffs and shrieking. It’s the little shot in the arm that the genre needs every now and again.

This attention to songwriting is present throughout and none more so than on album highlight “Fährten Im Schnee”. Drawing on the cold climate to build a slow-burning and atmospheric cut of black metal, it journeys through dissonant chords and snowy woods to terrific effect. Its Arctic, harsh focus proudly presents the track as TYAKRAH at their absolute best – a howl atop the mountain top.

There’s even time for brief spoken word passages from vocalist JR, which adds an eerie if slightly odd turn to proceedings. Odd in the sense that it doesn’t seem to add much in the way of drama to the flow of tracks – it’s just there, really. The three instrumental tracks, whilst a delight to listen to, could perhaps have been swapped for an additional black metal blast as there’s only really four on offer here. Arguably a bit short-changing for a full-length…

Nevertheless, “Wintergedanken” is an enjoyable listen and TYAKRAH can dutifully pat themselves on the back for a job well done. It’s laser-focused songwriting and strong production makes for a hell of a listen, whilst some of the playing on display is phenomenal (some of I.XII’s guitar work is sublime, especially the melodic lead parts). Some would argue that there’s not a whole lot new on offer, but sometimes that’s not what you need. Sometimes you need a nice, refreshing blast of cold to blow away the cobwebs. Take a trip to Germany and enjoy.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER
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