I’m approaching the passage of one full year since discovering the band Zeit from Leipzig, Germany, the encounter occasioned by a video filmed in an abandoned coal power station in East Germany. I thought of the video as a modern equivalent of the ruins made famous by Shelley’s famous sonnet about that long-forgotten “King of Kings”, Ozymandias, and I thought of the song as a grim, intensely foreboding, but also pulse-pounding experience.
The song was “Verloren”, drawn from the band’s 2015 EP Gram. It was an impressive outing in more ways than one, a fashioning of black metal with heavy strands of sound interwoven from other genres (principally sludge and doom). Now Zeit are on the brink of releasing their first album, Konvergenz, and we have the pleasure of streaming it for you today.
As before, Zeit’s music is an intertwining of genre ingredients, wrapped like blossoming thorns around a scaffolding of black metal, this time with elements of sludge, doom, post-metal, and a bit of punk (among others) in a vibrant and evocative mix. More reminiscent of such bands as Harakiri For the Sky or Falls of Rauros than anything in the second-wave black metal tradition, it’s nevertheless fiery in its intensity as well as moody and atmospheric, and guitarist Fur’s savage, strangulated goblin snarls are caustic enough to etch glass.
The hallmarks of the album, and of each track, are the dynamism of the song-writing and the earnestness and memorability of the melodies. Marked by dynamics of rhythm, pacing, and mood, the music ebbs and flows seamlessly, moving through slow passages of grim and grieving melancholy, mid-paced hammering and jabbing, and full-on surges of incandescence. And maybe the most infectious song on an album filled with irresistible skull-infiltrators is an ominous piece of head-moving devil rock named “Boden”.
Zeit’s devotion to dynamics is aided greatly by the performance of drummer Win, who’s never locked into one pattern for very long. From moment to moment the drums blast and tumble, gallup and rumble, slow to a trudge and hit back-beats that make your whole body move, augmented by Flakmann’s deep, rounded bass thrum that gives the songs a varying but noticeable pulse.
Melodically (and atmospherically), sensations of gloom and even anguish are prominent, but there’s a warmth in the buzzing guitar tone that draws the listener into the push and pull of these dark odes. And, as mentioned earlier, there’s so much life in the music, so many instances of bursting fervency and fierceness that I can’t think of the album as morose no matter how often it brings the doom to center stage. Moody it may be, but heads will bang and strands of these vivid melodies are likely to linger in your head.
As they say in the trade, as enjoyable as Gram was, Konvergenz represents an impressive step forward for Zeit. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Konvergenz will be released by Zeit on June 2nd on CD and cassette (limited to 100 copies and including a digital download), and as a stand-alone digital download online.
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