Listen to the first 90 seconds of “Weltverloren”, as it moves from a lilting solo guitar melody into a racing torrent that carries the same melody, driving it home, and then changes again to a rocking rhythm, never losing its fast grip on that brilliant melody — nor its grip on you. If you’re not hooked in the first 90 seconds, I’ll be surprised.
But “Weltverloren” is far from finished in 90 seconds. Before it ends, it staggers into a pool of tears, drenched in sorrow but no less transfixing in its emotional impact, and then accelerates into an even more intense, ravishing finish. And this is only the first song in a magnificent album — all of which you will be able to hear through our premiere of a full streaam.
The album is Grausammler. The band is Germany’s Vargnatt.
Five more songs await you on Grausammler. Each of them builds on a magnetic melodic core, spinning the music through an array of changes, from scathing black metal whirlwinds that will get your blood rushing fast, to soaring, swooping arcs that seem like the sound of larks in flight, to beautiful, drifting meditative passages accented by choral voices and violins.
The music is beautifully conceived and beautifully performed, and the album as a whole is constructed in a way that reflects a masterful grasp on the attraction of musical dynamics. The songs flow from doom-stricken and bereft to hard-charging and heroic, from sweepingly panoramic to achingly pensive.
All of the traditional metal instruments are performed with a high level of skill, and the harsh vocals are as agonized and searing as the music demands. The song-writing is also a thing of beauty, with wonderful surprises around every turn; among my favorites are the surprise appearance of an acoustic guitar in “Vor den Toren”, giving the song a new texture that seems exactly right, followed by a transfixing drum performance accompanied by truly wrenching vocals. The irresistible hard-rocking section that appears a couple of minutes into the title track is another standout surprise.
In a word, Grausammler is a marvel. It’s rooted in the black metal of decades past, but repeatedly transcends the confines of the genre. The music also has staying power — it will not wear out its welcome.
The album features artwork by Pascal Hauer. It’s available on gatefold CD and digitally from Eisenwald via the first Bandcamp link below.