Review Summary: “Ich muss allein bleiben und wissen, dass ich allein bin, um die Natur vollständig zu schauen und zu fühlen.”
What a remarkable concept it is to base each of your musical efforts around the impressions of and ideas behind works of individual artist from different spheres, one album at a time. We’ve heard a powerhouse of an album that with an adequate amount of bitterness and ravaged sorrow portrayed Franz Kafka’s torn life; and we’ve heard an interpretation of Auguste Rodin’s sculptural megalomania and near-mythological torment. On both of the albums the band has taken two vastly different artists and turned either their horrifying lives or works into appropriately megalithic pieces of music.
Now the time has come to pay homage to the great German landscapist Caspar David Friedrich. And much like with the two predecessors, here too I can see why he was the choice. And the ‘influential painting – gained musical concept’ correlation seems as fitting as ever. Much like Friedrich’s chilling work, this album too transmits a magnitude of engulfing and haunting, but simultaneously overwhelming atmosphere.
Much like the actual “Monk by the Sea”, its musical accompaniment strikes with crushing solitude and a monolith of colossal nautical emptiness. “View of a Harbour” presents a feeling of obliqueness in the eyes of giants you are only a mere replica of. “Wreck in the Sea of Ice” feels like observing a fallen titan. “Seashore with Shipwreck by Moonlight” throws you amidst an absolute calm, but with a creeping, menacing danger beyond the horizon, sort of calm before the storm. But it still is not as calming and creeping as “The Chasseur in the Forest”, whose staggering beastly magnitude astounds and terrifies, but also strangely enough offers fulfilment and courage. “Morning Fog in the Mountains” is the coldest cut on here, while its chilling outbursts are only brought to its freezing perfection in the “Winter Landscape”. But while the whole album was indeed haunting, it was merely as terrifying as the closer “The Abbey on the Oakwood”, which proceeds to level up the already magnifying beauty, devastating solitude and harrowing desperation to its absolute maximum.
I suppose the only real problem you could possibly have with this depends on how much you can see a harsh, emotionally unstable Screamo Hardcore music as a soundtrack to scenes of utter melancholy. But if you accept the connection to be more atmospheric than stylistic, then you might as well stumble upon the perfect interpretation of Friedrich’s titanic works.