About a week ago we premiered a stream of Turm Am Hang, the new album by the German band Horn. The brilliant last track on that album is a cover of “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way” from the 2013 album Coven of the Wolves by Iowa-based When Bitter Spring Sleeps, with a guest appearance by the latter band’s vocalist Lord Sardonyx.
It’s a great cover, and it also caused me to revisit the original song. The lyrics are wonderful, and the song is too. So that’s the first track I’m including below in this Sunday’s look back at metal from past years.
(Coven of the Wolves is available on Bandcamp here, and all proceeds from digital sales are contributed to Defenders of Wildlife for the protection of wolves.)
When I was listening to the song on YouTube a week ago, YouTube served up another song right after it finished. I was working in another page when that happened and didn’t know what song had started playing, but it was a perfect companion to the marvel of “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way”.
That second song was “A Whisper Underneath the Bark of Old Trees“, the result of a collaboration by the German black metal band Nargaroth and the Swiss band Nychts from their 2011 album Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare. The cover art is a 16th-century piece called “Melancolia I” by Albrecht Dürer.
Like the first track, this one includes compelling lyrics. It’s a three-part song, with the middle section (“The Confession”) including spoken words taken from the 1931 film M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder, by Fritz Lang. Here are the lyrics to the first and third segments of the song:
I found no solution
in the truth
that my madness can be cured
I found no wisdom
in the songs
the elders sung to me
I stared through diamonds
oh so cold
saw young beauty grow old
Bleeding promises renewed with old lies
in the glare of
[The Salvation ~ The Forgiveness]
I raged through the jungle
and died in the trees
to dwell in the rivers
which flow to the seas
What if this madness
seems to be
nothing else but my real me
Well what do you know, Nargaroth made a ballad.
Has a primitive kind of Nocte Obducta does Falkenbach by ways of Fen ring to it.
Kind of surprised me too, and I’d never heard the song before. I would like to thank the YouTube algorithm. I wonder if it enjoys cookies?
It sure does, and it’s generous too. Hands out cookies to new visitors all the time. You might try sending the algorithm some fractal flowers, perhaps.
Good idea. The great thing about fractal flowers is that for the price of a dozen you get… an infinite number of them.