Minenwerfer
Alpenpässe


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kyle Ward EMERITUS
March 5th, 2020 | 33 replies


Release Date: 10/31/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And blood covers the snow

The horrors of the First World War are almost beyond imagination to people like us who are 100 years distant from the unabashed carnage and tragedies that led H.G. Wells to so poignantly define it as “the war to end war”. The fact that the conflict now lives in the annals of history books or the black and white stills of war documentaries allows its hideous atrocities to appear muted and distant – but Minenwerfer aren’t so keen on allowing that to be the case. As strange as it is that a couple guys from Sacramento would bring to life the chaos of the Italian Dolomites circa 1915, Alpenpässe does so with a slew of songs that encompass – as much as a black metal record possibly could – the feeling of being around the exploding limestone, the avalanches, and the chaos of mountain warfare in a time when war itself was changing in a gruesome way.

While that description may lead you to believe that you’re in for an unrelenting raw black metal album, Minenwerfer make a different and decidedly more effective effort in creating massive variances in mood. There are indeed some frantic moments within tracks like “Dragging the Dead Through Mountain Passes”, but no sooner are you hit with the soft acoustic guitar bridge of “Kaiserjägerlied” when you realize this record is more than a one-trick pony. The riffing is varied and brings a sense of melody along for the ride, allowing for a more effective conveyance of mood where the desolation and sadness ring true while the heavy riffing and blast beats contrast the norm enough to themselves become strikingly effective.

The fact that Minenwerfer can so effortlessly place you in this setting makes their missteps a bit more profound. “Tiroler Edelweiss” is an admirable effort at a soft, atmospheric track that misses the mark with poor clean vocals and a tad too much melodrama to fit along with the efficiency of the album’s other tracks, but overall the band strikes at the heart of what an effective, war-themed black metal record should be. This isn’t Panzer Division MardukAlpenpässe is a much more well-composed, well-envisioned, and well-executed stab at bringing a World War to us in aural form. This record feels more personal, and with riffs aplenty including some surprises like that found in the latter portions of “Withered Tombs” there is a ludicrous amount of replay value to go along with the conceptual allure.

The album art is about as perfect a way to describe this record as anyone could muster – the record sounds more or less as that picture looks. Ignore the cliché German band name, ignore the fact that one of the members kind of looks like GG Allin in a milsurp helmet in their Metal Archives band picture, ignore the fact that this is two American guys who call themselves Generalfeldmarschall Kriegshammer and Wachtmeister Verwüstung – ignore it all. The music speaks for itself, and I can assure you that underneath the satire is an album that is worth your time and may prove itself over time to be an absolute gem of a record.



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user ratings (23)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


17483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great record, kind of came from nowhere. This album also has sick guitar solos.

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 5th 2020


35858 Comments


If there's something that would make me want to listen to metal, it's the rare Crysis appearance. Welcome back :-)

Excellent review, too.

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


12878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mandatory Crysis bump.



Going to add this to my next week albums again to see if it's got some growth.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


21269 Comments


Wait a second. Wait a goddamn second. Is this a Crysis review from 2020??

I ask because I am jamming 2011 stuff now like crazy and I see Kyle in every thread so I have to be sure I am not going nuts.

Digging: Anna von Hausswolff - All Thoughts Fly

Crysis
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


17483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hahah thanks gents, for whatever reason I really felt like writing a review tonight and this album certainly deserves more exposure.



I miss 2011, better days for sure.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


21269 Comments


Shit! Nice! Hope you stick around. I've read a few of your reviews from back then these last months so it's cool to have you back man.

Crysis
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


17483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh I never actually left, I really just lurk these days because I don't have much time to listen to a ton of new records anymore so I can't add much to the discussion.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


21269 Comments


Well I just added you to the March Madness showdown in case you need to add to that discussion haha

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


12878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Keep pluggin' away Dewi

Crysis
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


17483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You have to match me up against Pots, happened like 3 years in a row when I was in Sputnik madness

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


21269 Comments


Hahaha that's quite the match up, but it's all randomized so chances you match with Pots are very low. Also this year there is a total of 128 warriors. It's gonna be a butchery.

"Keep pluggin' away Dewi"

Doing my best chief!

Edit: Actually someone corrected me: 128 match-ups = 256 participants :O

Pikazilla
March 5th 2020


12127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally, this has a review. Sick album.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2020


27033 Comments


this is not the record i would have expected to bring you out of retirement

Digging: Cryptic Shift / Replicant / Inoculation / Astral Tomb - Chasm of Aeons

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


10813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never really checked this band because I heard they were fascist, but I've reading up on them a bit and they seem more like really dumb edgelords that are ok with fascists being around (said they would work with Famine or Roman Saenko on an album for example). Guess that's better than definitely being fascist, but pretty lame stuff.

WatchItExplode
March 5th 2020


8291 Comments


Still got the best avatar game in the business. Will check this today on my way to a mountain hot springs.

Crysis
Emeritus
March 5th 2020


17483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think these guys are NS, their lyrics don't convey that at all on this record unless the one song with German lyrics says otherwise.

Coast
March 5th 2020


1241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this has a lot of great chill guitar solos amidst the bm fury.

Digging: Faceless Burial - Speciation

Itwasthatwas
March 6th 2020


2905 Comments


bm band says they’re willing to work with some of the most acclaimed people in the scene, stop the presses
though famine seems more than a little unstable so I guess work with him at your own risk to your health and sanity

anyways nice review crysis, I’ll have to check this later this week



WatchItExplode
March 6th 2020


8291 Comments


I suppose there is Room for both but I will take this all day over sky forest

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2020


8847 Comments


Great review, might find time to check this out.

WWI has been receiving a lot of attention of late by bands such as this one, 1914 or Kjottkvern.

Digging: The Anti Troppau Council - A Way Out



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