Rattenfänger – Geisslerlieder

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.darkessencerecords.no
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://rattenfanger.bandcamp.com/album/geisslerlieder
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/darkessencerecords/

Band line-up:

Thurios – guitars
Krechet – bass
Vlad – drums, keyboards
Roman – guitars, vocals

Tracklisting:

1. De Laude Flagellorum
2. Materia Prima
3. Les Bons Hommes
4. Pestarzt
5. Sella Stercoraria
6. De Blasphemia In Latina Vulgaris
7. Funis Coronat Opus

Review:

Rattenfanger are an old school Ukrainian death metal band on Dark Essence Records, who released their sophomore album ‘Geissierlieder’ on 6th December this year. It comes seven years after their debut, ‘Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum’. Their lineup consists of musicians from bands such as Drudkh, Blood of Kingu, Hate Forest and Dark Ages, and tastes of the various projects can be heard in the music. Comparisons can also be made with bands including Celtic Frost, early Darkthrone, Bolt Thrower and others. Like in Rattenfanger’s prior album, all the lyrics are in Latin and composed in the style of medieval poems.

The album starts just a little weakly, as nothing really impresses in any way. The riffs are certainly heavy, they just don’t stand out as exceptionally brutal when compared to extreme songs such as Slipknot’s ‘Eeyore’. The music performance is competent but not virtuosic, (expect wild drum parts, but no flashy guitar solos), the production is very polished (if not over produced on computer), but not in a way that’s different. Everything seems to be average. On the plus side, the way two distorted guitars play separate ideas, is done well. It could have been very messy, especially when you consider the lashings of distortion that are used.

‘Sella Stercoraria’ is an improvement with its more adventurous dual guitar parts that again, are often independent of each other. (Nice and clever). More typical death metal chugging follows them, but it is interpreted as a breath of fresh air rather than a cliche, due to the limited repetition of ideas. Think the wonderfully simple Bolt Thrower, for sweet, relatively brief periods. The song builds to a furious climax later on with a perfectly reasonable guitar theme. Not amazing, but it does work. What doesn’t work so much is the fade out, rather than an ‘all guns blazing’ ending. It seems pretty rushed, too. 

‘De Blasphemia In Latina Vulgaris’ uses similar devices and structures and suffers from the same underdeveloped ending. ‘Funis Coronat Opus’ does have some cool riffing on the other hand. It has beautiful simplicity in rhythms, mixed with more independent dual guitars and a really grinding ferocity. You could call it a death metal ‘Smoke on the Water’. The song doesn’t develop quite as creatively as some of the more epic tracks, but it is still a very satisfying listen. 

In conclusion, this is a reasonable album with some strong highlights, but for the most part, it is pretty run of the mill. You do get some experimentation and stylish mixes of tempos that change just at the right time, but only a death metal genius would be able to point out with confidence the ways Rattenfanger are different from the many thousands of DM bands out there. Because of the strength of songwriting, this album probably won’t disappoint you, but it most likely won’t be anything to be excited about. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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