Review Summary: Dornenreich find the best combination of their past sounds to create the best black metal album of the year so farFlammentriebe
is a tragedy, in a sense, as while it is Austria’s Dornenreich’s best album, easily, it is also supposedly the last album that the Austrian black metal band will base on metal instrumentation – or at least, that is what the trio have stated in press interviews leading up to Flammentriebe
’s release. So unified is the group on this 2011 album, that Dornenreich’s past so-called masterpieces of avant-garde black metal, 2001’s Her von welken Nächten
and 2006’s Durch Den Traum
, are merely sloppy jokes in comparison. If ever there was a Dornenreich album worth owning for any metalhead, it is this one.
takes many aspects of Dornenreich’s past releases and molds them into one, essentially. A slow-to-mid tempo pounding of guitar distortion, not so unlike the playing used by Germany’s Imperium Dekadenz
on their Dämmerung der Szenarien
2007 album, makes up roughly half of the album’s contents, while the band uses violin player Thomas Riesner along with acoustic guitar playing in conjunction, in many cases, on the other half to add a progressive element to the black metal at play here. The result is often atmospheric and heavily melodic as well, yet akin to melodic black metallers Iskald
or this year’s offering by Arafel
this is not. Melodies rich and layered, aided in part by vocalist Jochen Stock’s thick accent, stick in the minds of listeners on each and every track, being controlled and always purposeful within the contexts of the individual songs.
Vocally, Stock is at his best here on Flammentriebe
, pronouncing his whispers in the more tranquil areas of the album for atmospheric peacefulness, while then spewing his snarls in the pouring occasions of distortion with a Thomas Väänänen-like vigor. It is here that Dornenreich draw some heavy comparisons to current-fellow tour mates Agrypnie
, in not only Stock’s tone of voice, but also in how his melodies ride the guitar riffs of the music. Like much of Agrypnie
’s work, the tactic is marvelous here, being much better in practice than any of the vocal tricks that were used by Dornenreich in the past. Indeed, past albums were often highly experimental and varied, instrumentally as well as vocally. But on Flammentriebe
, the trio set out with a fixed set of tools and come out with nothing less than a memorable, wonderful set of songs. Never have Dornenreich sounded so unified on record than here, and the products of their songwriting show this.
’s best moments are those where Riesner uses his violin to weave in and out of Stock’s guitar riffing, a prime example to be found on final track “Erst Deine Träne Löscht Den Brand”. The violin player never overcrowds the guitars, acoustic or electric, being always faithful to play second fiddle to Stock’s inclusions in the music, be it his vocals or his instrumentals. The relationship that the band shares on the album is perfect because of this, though – no more needless bumping around or figuring out what works, as on Her von welken Nächten
before it. This makes Dornenreich’s recent choice to start anew on the next outing with a different basis of songwriting an even more troubling one, as it seems that the Austrian black metal band has spent most of its career trying to experiment to find its own sound, and now it finally has it for this release. Flammentriebe
is without a doubt the best black metal album of the year so far, and hopefully through its success, Dornenreich will change their future plans and continue to build albums in this vein of crafting.