As an enthusiastic admirer of this German band’s 2010 album Leere (reviewed here), I welcomed the chance to hear their newest work Schwarz-Karg-Kalt (“black-barren-cold”), which is due for release next month. In a word, it’s excellent.
Uniting elements of black metal, death metal, and doom, Thorngoth have delivered a monster of an album that’s both massively powerful and mesmerizing, both harrowing and ethereal. It’s atmospheric music, but unlike some forms of metal labeled with that term, it doesn’t rely on ambient sounds, prolonged repetition of motifs, or songs of extended length. Instead, Thorngoth build an aura of enveloping darkness and doom through the accumulated weight of the music across the space of nine tracks.
The title song, which opens the album, is an effective introduction to Thorngoth’s plan of attack. It employs huge distorted bass and guitar riffs and compelling drum rhythms, creating a titanic low end that radiates power as a result of the superb production of the recording. As happens on other songs, shimmering keyboard effects and layered, reverberating guitar notes provide a counterpoint and a contrast.