Nebelung
Palingenesis


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brandon Nelson USER (17 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2015 | 18 replies


Release Date: 02/18/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A slow-burning excursion into the deepest thickets.

Airy, layered melodies hover with weightless anticipation in the opening moments of Nebelung’s 2014 release Palingenesis, like a bird of prey before the deep woods’ brambly facade. Before long, the sonorous strike of a drum triggers a headlong hurtle toward the heart of the forest and the listener rides on falcon wings, careening through dense fog and gnarled branches.

The affecting music of this German trio’s latest work is a veritable encapsulation of the natural world. Sinewed by melancholy and hopefulness, the slight instrumentation and mantra-like structures of these 6 songs practically emit the fertile aromas of rain-soaked timbers and moss. Winding, mist-clad passages of melismatic cello, droning harmonium, hammered dulcimer and arpeggiated guitar conjure images of morning’s arrival over a landscape ravaged by winter.

The album’s true splendor stems from Nebelung’s willingness to allow the music to breathe. The band employs minimalism to dazzling effect, using basic progressions to usher in this enveloping mystical aura. The result is magical and eerie all at once. Rhythms and melodies wander freely and evolve at their own organic pace, never forcefully. Tracks mature like grass chutes emerging from soil or vines ascending tree trunks in slow pursuit of the sun (eg, ‘Nachtgewalt’, ‘Aufgang’). Others surge and recede like rivulets that build or break their banks by night (eg, ‘Polaris’).

For all its lifelike depictions of alfresco sojourns, however, the journey offered here is also acutely internal. Centering on the concepts of rebirth and recreation, the album’s delicate core is fully-informed by the knowledge of inevitable death and the desire for eventual refinement and transformation. Not all death is to be feared for not all death is permanent. This notion is certainly characteristic of the physical world, but it is also very human.

The theme of introspection and renewal is further realized by Palingenesis’ role in Nebelung’s discography. The record shows the band making a few radical alterations to their musical approach. Here, vocals are relegated to subdued whispers or distant chants, a stark contrast to previous efforts. The occasional voice’s seeming sole purpose is to serve as the inner thoughts of a traveler wandering into a realm where words are no longer needed. To say anything would be to impede unnecessarily on this place of unmolested beauty and darkness being evoked by the instruments. The ostensible paradox of grace and gloom, best evidenced by the powerful closer ‘Innerlichkeit’, lends the album a degree of rigidity that not only intensifies the music, but benefits it.

While slow-paced and remarkably simple, Palingenesis is a transporting and indefinably beautiful dark folk album that examines tenants of the inner and outer worlds, while using rich detail to blur the boundaries between the two. The record is a subtle highlight of 2014 that does not deserve to be overlooked.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://nebelung.bandcamp.com/



Album needs some love. It was one of my favorites from last year. Didn't realize until recently that it never got a review.

DungeonBoy
April 2nd 2015


561 Comments


Awesome review!

"Here, vocals are relegated to subdued whispers or distant chants, a stark contrast to previous efforts."

this is great news. I remember listening to one of the prior albums thinking it was pretty great neofolk with some ill-fitting vocals.

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Dungeon!

I agree. Their new take on vocals is a definite improvement. They used to sing in German, but I read somewhere that the lyrics here are sung in Norwegian.

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Found it. This interview is worth a read.



http://heathenharvest.org/2014/09/25/returning-to-the-source-an-interview-with-stefan-otto-of-nebelung/



It looks like they are trying to avoid any specific cultural imagery that language would imply and just use the voice as additional instrumentation.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2015


20756 Comments


it's about time somebody reviewed this, great job!



Digging: The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers, Atari! This came out in February 2014, so yeah, it's overdue. I was surprised that no one had written about it yet.

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet avatar, btw. Tenhi may be my favorite band. Solid discog front to back.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2015


20756 Comments


didn't realize it's been that long already, how the time flies.

and thanks man. yeah Tenhi is one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) neofolk bands, i really enjoy the classical influences. Any bands similar to them you'd recommend?

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll try! Not much compares to Tenhi.



I looked through your list of favorite bands and it looks like you've got a lot of the ones I would have recommended.



Here's a few I can think of off the top of my head:

Vergissmeinnicht – Whispering Solitude (Might be more like Vali)

Graumahd – Cheru (You might try the title track here.)

Fejd – Storm (More rock influenced. Offerök and Storm are good tracks.)

Garmarna – S/T (Strings-driven Swedish folk.)

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2015


20756 Comments


cheers man, i'll check those out when i have some free time :]

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For sure. They might not be perfect recommendations. Tenhi are kind of in a league of their own, in my opinion. However, I didn't want to recommend anything you already had ratings for. Hopefully I didn't completely miss the mark with these recs.

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2015


407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

!!



bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you heard this one yet, Cap'n?

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2015


407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

listening now, kinda underwhelmed tbh

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2015


20756 Comments


this one was a grower for me, didn't care for it much on my first listen

CaptainDooRight
April 2nd 2015


407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah i prolly revisit to see what happens

bnelso55
April 2nd 2015


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^Maybe give it another go when you're in the mood. I know my rating has gone up over time. Agreed with Atari. It's a grower, imo.

zaruyache
April 2nd 2015


9267 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

all pretty get folky m/



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