– Michael Pelkowsky: Drums on tracks 1-8
– Armin Rave: Guitar lead on track 2
– Robert Landfermann: Double bass on tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 9
– Pablo Held: Piano on track 9
– Jonas Burgwinkel: Drums on track 9
1. Langsam, hinters Licht
4. Wir fehlen alle
5. Schneller als Sehnsucht, Größer als Eins
8. Genius Drang
10. Mein wort in Deiner Dunkelheit
I really did not know what to expect upon first look and then after reading Rainer Landfermann was indeed from Bethlehem, I was like ok this will be crazy. Oh boy was it. If you do not know of extreme German metal band Bethlehem you might want to give them a listen as well. They are on the more avant garde side and Rainer definitely loves to experiment musically. With his debut solo album “Mein Wort in Deiner Dunkelheit” which translates to “My Word in Your Darkness” he definitely lays thick the darkness! Rainer is considered one of the most extreme vocalists in the metal scene and he pours his everything into his agonizing vocals but then throws your brain for a loop with acoustic and jazz elements. The mix of Jazz and extreme metal is definitely peculiar and I have heard it a little bit here and there in technical death metal by bands like Between the Buried and Me, but this is definitely more avant garde and dark. Rainer does indeed have some of the most disturbing vocals I have ever heard. I am familiar with Bethlehem and his work on album “Dictius Te Necare”.
If you want to hear an album where a tortured man is shrieking as though his soul is being ripped out, then this is for you. Even if you do not understand German. I live in Germany and understand a bit though it can be hard at times to actually discern what he’s shrieking. I am not really a big fan of Jazz music personally. Somehow he has the madness to make it work and fuse it into black metal. There is quite the artistic concept at work. Rainer is a brilliant musical mastermind. This album was completely composed and written by himself and then to record he enlisted several talents to create one of the most unique and interesting albums I have heard so far this year. This definitely will not be for everyone. I think you have to have an open mind to appreciate black metal let alone adding jazz to it. This album is misanthropic, and a good reflection of the chaotic times we live in. It is in itself chaotic as jazz can be. It is unpredictable and unsettling at best.
I still do not know what to make of it all. It starts with a pretty melancholic jazz track with low pitched, quiet raspy vocals but then come the sickening shrieks of an anguished man. This is one of the most jazzy tracks of the album and not a blast beat or heavy guitar riff to be heard. Track 2 Kunstvoll which translates to ‘artistically’ is where you turn the dial up from scream infused jazz to an intense black metal assault. There are still jazz elements and structures in the guitar and bass but the drums are blasts. The album is 10 tracks, each around three to five minutes in length. If you like something different, “Schneller als Sehnsucht, Größer als Eins” (Faster than desire, bigger than one) is one of the most heavy and insane tracks on the album. It’s fast paced from the start and is incredibly brutal. Despite all that you can still hear the jazz elements in the song though a little more subtle. Intuition is quieter with classical paino playing but do not get comfortable for long because once the vocals kick in you are dragged back into the depths of Rainer’s insanity. I suppose I really can appreciate this bizarre and quirky mixture of music. The ending track named after the album title is a great end to this dark experimentation. It is not easy listening for anyone who likes typical black metal.
Overall it’s well polished, technical, and well composed. It definitely could be its own sub genre. Blackened Jazz. Though when there’s Black Hop (check out Russian group Uratsakidogi for more weirdness) and other funky fusions of black metal out there, this will be one of those experimentations I think will have its cult following and niche but may not be widely appreciated. I also believe each individual will need to hear it to make their own mind up. I still do not even know 100% how I feel and think about it. I’ve listened to it 3 times now in a row. I still feel bewildered. Can I love and hate something at the same time? All I can say is see for yourself. I give it 4.5 out of 5 for being one of the most memorable albums this year.