Review Summary: Probably the strongest Nargaroth album.
Even though René Wagner's personality in the past raises certain questions about his...let's say, reliability - his output under Nargaroth is undoubtely noteworthy.
Many black metallers tend to ignore the albums before and after his infamous and highly divisive album, Black Metal ist Krieg
because of the "mess" it created. However, I do believe that's a naive mistake, because missing out albums like Herbstleyd
is quite a loss.
To corroborate this statement, let's investigate the album's strengths. The most obvious component is the album's atmosphere, which originates from the "standard" old-school aesthetics: numerous guitar layers, a few slower sections, additional samples and synths here and there... you know the drill. But, combining all these together is a bit of a tricky task though. Bands with such goals often tend to end up sounding as Burzum-wannabes - which might have been the case with Nargaroth as well (who knows?), since the overall sound shows clear similarities to early Burzum (especially to the self-titled) or Satyricon albums - but as the album goes on it manages to clarify originality. It can be observed in the first place an the album's overall "mood", which bears resemblance to early DSBM albums. For example the intro of 'Karmageddon'
and in the middle of the song 'Des alten Kriegers Seelenruh'
where the tempo drops and clean guitars step into the spotlight accompanied by slow croacking vocals - also something similar can be observed in the song 'Amarok - Zorn des Lammes'
too. Compared to other black metal releases from the late '90s, Herbstleyd
runs on a generally slower tempo, which in addition to generating a bit doom metal-ish impression, works really well at building up the atmosphere, plus leaves some place for experimentation.
But not every element worked out perfectly for this release. For example: even though samples can also help achieving the perfect atmosphere, using them more than necessary has a blunting effect on a the listening experience - so maybe, less could have been more. And that's the very same case with certain songs as well, because a 15 minutes long runtime is not entirely perfect for a song, despite the variety within.
was an altogether rather impressive debut, and it is a generally enjoyable atmospheric black metal album as well.