Faustus – Lipsia

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: https://carelessrecords.bandcamp.com/
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://carelessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/lipsia
Band Website : https://darkestrahofficial.bandcamp.com/

Band Line- up:

Asbath – drums
Resurgemus – Guitars, keyboards, vocals

Tracklisting:

1. Brockenhexen 1:35
2. Natur ist Sünde, Geist ist Teufel 6:23
3. Et Satan counduit le bal 4:34
4. Der Drudenfuß auf eurer Schwelle 5:16
5. Leipzige Mitternacht 12:04
6. Hidden bonus track on physical copies only*

 

 

 

 

Review:

Faustus is an interesting underground side project from 2 members of the pagan black metal band Darkestrah. If you are not familiar with Darkestrah I highly recommend you check them out because they are pioneers of central Asian black metal with something original to offer. Asbath and Resurgemus recorded this EP in 2004 but it was not until this year that it was released officially and distributed by Careless Records on bandcamp limited to 100 physical copies and digital download. Faustus is inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘Faust, Eine Tragödie’. Lipsia is the Latin name for the Eastern German city of Leipzig where the famed author studied and lived for a time and found inspiration for his work ‘Faust’.

Lipsia is more raw black metal and definitely sets itself apart from Darkestrah. With the guitar parts you can hear a fuzzy static sound quality that is colder and less polished. Some people might not care for this but if you are a fan of classic black metal bands like Burzum and Darkthrone, then this might be just the thing for you. This album definitely felt like it had some Burzum influences. Asbath is a versatile drummer and can deliver hypnotic ritualistic rhythms and furious blast beats. Resurgemus is more known for being an atmospheric keyboardist but he is a well rounded musician that can compose and perform with multiple instruments and his skills with black metal guitar riffs are not too shabby. The guitar styles throughout the album can be a little repetitive lacking much melodic playing. The keyboard parts I hear do sound reminiscent of what I hear in Darkestrah albums. The great thing about any musical project made by Asbath and his fellow musicians is they usually have a strong theme and tell a story. They do a bit of research into the things that inspire them. With Leipzig being their home they found with ‘Faust, a Tragedy’ a perfect theme to write a black metal album.

Lipsia opens with Brockenhexen. It’s a short intro piece consisting more of wind and eriee sounds meant to take you to some cold dark forest. Brockenhexen are witches that gather for Walpurgisnacht at Brocken and were made famous by Goethe’s Faust, A Tragedy. From Brockenhexen it goes straight into ‘Natur ist Sünde, Geist ist Teufel’ which means Nature is sin, spirit is the devil. The song starts hard and fast with fast tempo blast beats and guitar riffing. The growling vocals are not extremely dynamic in range but the raspy high pitched style fits well with this and the other tracks. The vocals sound distant at times. The spoken word part was ritualistic, and very smooth and seductive in tone. This was one of the best tracks for me personally. In ‘Et Satan counduit le bal’ or Satan leads the ball, the sound is much more furious. The vocals are more desperate and aggressive. It’s a short song with a fast tempo from beginning to end. Another really good track ‘Der Drudenfuß auf eurer Schwelle’, which means the ‘Pentagram on your threshold’ is slower in tempo at the start but it ramps up in intensity. This is also one of the more atmospheric songs with some haunting keyboard melodies woven in as it nears its climatic end. The final song ‘Leipzige Mitternacht’ Leipzig at Midnight starts with the eerie bell toll of midnight. The guitar riffs and drumming fade in gradually. This goes on without vocals for a couple minutes and fades away again to silence. It leaves you wondering what’s to come as it goes silent around the 4:10 mark and that goes on until the end. It is quite odd to have a track with so much empty space and if you only listen to it on bandcamp digitally then that will be the end. However if you own a physical copy of the album you will discover a 6th unlisted track. This track is dark, sinister and aggressive and only instrumental. It sounds a little more polished than the other tracks as well.

I think one of the things really missing from most songs on this album are strong bass guitar sounds. It’s mostly tremelo style riffs and lacking in many layers. There is not much melodic style playing. It’s pretty simple and straight forward black metal. The drumming is strong and shines throughout the album. It was really the driving force of each song and sometimes put things a little bit out of balance. The guitar parts and drumming were the strongest elements followed by the vocals and keyboards. I did not hear many keyboard parts in the album either which is a shame as they truly bring a great touch of atmosphere when they are present. With this particular theme more atmosphere would have really been the icing on the cake and helped give it a theatrical quality for which Faust, A Tragedy was intended. ‘Leipzige Mitternacht’ for many who listen to the digital format will be an odd track since its mostly silence and ends so. It fools you into thinking there’s more to come and leaves you waiting for nothing. Owning the physical CD gives you the hidden bonus track so the wait will not be in vain. I enjoyed this EP and it’s one I know I can listen to more than once though it did leave me wanting more. It is a solid little album with some quirks. I recommend giving it a look if you are a fan of black metal. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. For what it is it’s a fair EP and it was recorded back in 2004. I was a year out of highschool and these guys are around my age so they were young musicians themselves at the time they produced this. As I always say support underground artists and bands and give Faustus a listen!

REVIEW BY CATHRINE WENDT

 

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