Genre : Folk black metal
Release : January 4th 2014.
I feel a bit shameful for not adding that album here before. It's been a while since I support Waldgeflüster now. And Winterherz, mastermind behind this folk black metal project, recently released his third full-length. If you're familiar with what was on the first two, Herbstklagen and Femundsmarka : Eine Reise in drei Kapiteln, Meine Fesseln (german for My chains) is obviously a good pick. The very essence of Waldgeflüster is still here and even stronger than before, be it in terms of music, lyrics, thematics...
Yeah, music follows the same patterns as his previous works : no huge walls of sound here, rather a incredibly melodic guitar backline. Melodic for sure, sometimes too much on first listen : guitar solo at the beginning of 'Der Nebel' on top of the riffing background guitars gives a strange feeling. But once you get used to this non-stop use of melodies, Meine Fesseln shines with its guitars. They're also the main piece of the acoustic parts, even though not the only one, as the guestlist counts Austin Lunn from Panopticon playing mandolin or Janne Väätäinen of Haïve for some kantele, among others... Probably because of the gear used and Winterherz's playing style, I deeply love his acoustic parts. I actually love his guitar use, be it the melodic backgrounds, the crying guitars heard on 'Wie eine Weide im Wind' chorus, the acoustic magnificence of any track introduction, as they mostly start softly, which I consider a good thing. I don't like to feel harmed by the beginning of a track, even as a black metal lover. Well, Meine Fesseln definitely is a guitar-oriented album. But alone, they wouldn't be enough to create the whole stuff of course, so what about the other elements? Drums are a little quiet in the mix, but carry the music well, moving along the mood with slower and faster tempos when needed. And that's what the album needs, as it often switches between slow melancholy and raging black metal. As for vocals, they're equally split between powerful black metal ones and somehow wild, honest cleans, which are often used as male duets. Well, clean and unclean vocals are actually used together most of the time singing the same part, and that's one hell of a success too, as it feels so intense and natural. Vocals are definitely a strength of Waldgeflüster too, as their rawness surely fits the album atmosphere. Honest, yeah. In my opinion, that's the best word to describe them.
Once again, all those elements will be quite familiar for who already knows Waldgeflüster's own style. Yeah, instead of playing your usual black metal, Winterherz created a project with a strong personal identity. Through its music, because non-happy/pagan folk black metal may have become more popular, yet Meine Fesseln gives it a different approach, definitely. Through its lyrics too, although my german would need one hell of a boost to get it completely (which I'd love, for that case). Even though not getting the whole thing precisely, the recurrent use of nature themes and its own melancholy is strong enough to be obvious, and the amazing cover art which perfectly fits the album title. Winterherz recently asked on his Facebook page what were our own chains to this world. At least, Waldgeflüster is one of mine, it seriously makes my time on Earth a little better.
Personal highlights : Wie eine Weide im Wind, Trauerweide (Teile I & II).
Links : Facebook, Bandcamp.