Review Summary: Nattramn once again straddles the divide between genius and insanity.
Nattramn’s projects are well-known for polarising listeners. Even without knowledge of all the myths surrounding him, the music alone is divisive enough. Nattramn’s vocals for depressive black metal band Silencer were undoubtedly extreme but whether this actually made them good or not is a debate that still continues today. The same can be said of his Diagnose: Lebensgefahr project (which was supposedly composed and recorded during his stay in a psychiatric ward); the album consisted primarily of disturbing industrial drone and noise tracks that were intended to make the listener feel uncomfortable. Again, whether feeling this way should render the album a success or not is arguable. Now throw in some unconfirmed stories about cutting his own hands off (and attaching pigs’ trotters to the ends), attempting to kill a young girl with an axe, and attempting to commit suicide-by-cop and you have a pretty divisive character.
Which brings us to Trencadis, a dark ambient/industrial drone project that was formed in 1995. Nattramn recorded just one demo under this name consisting of a single 21-minute long song entitled “Ödelagt.” This demo was put to tape and given to only a handful of individuals in the black metal underground until it eventually saw a release in 2012 through Nattramn’s (typically) mysterious Humani Animali Liberati label. Like all of Nattramn’s previous endeavours, “Ödelagt” can be viewed as being either the work of a disturbed musical genius or the mindless self-indulgence of a criminally insane individual.
This can often be dependent on how one chooses to listen to the album; musically, there isn’t much to speak of as the song relies heavily on minimalist repetition but there is a genuine charm to the atmosphere it creates. If one pays close attention to the actual sounds being created, there is an odd similarity between this release and Burzum’s ambient albums (the ones Varg created in prison) – which isn’t a particularly positive aspect. However, the key to “Ödelagt” is to turn off the lights and simply allow the music to wash over you as it has a quite extraordinary ability to work its way into your dreams and conjure up some truly unique images. As per usual, whether this actually gives the album any intrinsic value or not is entirely up to the individual to decide.
"Ödelagt" is not going to answer any questions about Nattramn regarding his musical abilities. Does his music actually have any merit to it or is there simply an appeal in looking into the mind of someone so far removed from the world most of us know? We’ll probably never get a definitive answer but if you feel like pondering over it, do so listening to Trencadis.