Eïs
Wetterkreuz

Geist‘s  2009 album Galeere was and still is one of my very favorite albums of that year and was a darn near perfect black metal album. But then I never heard anything from the band for the next, almost 4 years. Well it turns out that the band was having some issues with a lawsuit over their name as as well as some internal strife as founder Alboin details in this interview. But now a renamed two piece consisting of Alboin and drummer Marlek, Geist has sort of has returned, and while the name and the line-up are different, the resultant sound is still unmistakably Geist and sounds brilliant.

Wetterkreuz (‘weathercross’) retains the same elemental theme as Galeere, replacing the maritime concept with a more frosty, craggy and mountainous visage, though the sound and scope is still the same, Germanic, epic and regal black metal. The songs are still long with the 5 tracks (plus one cover) ranging from 8-10 minutes, and there’s still segments (mainly the songs’ intros) that deliver some windswept atmospherics and moods before the real song comes crashing in.

And crash in they do, like waves crashing on a rocky shore or winds howling across as frozen tundra, and echoing in barren peaks, the riffs seethe and soar with equal parts bite and beauty. Most of the influences comes from the genres Scandinavian progenitors and legends like (early) Borknagar, Taake, Mork Gryning, Emperor, Immortal and such, but there is an air of innate militant,  German classical superiority that calls to mind Wagner — for example the epic horns in  “Auf Kargen Klippen”.

However, the band’s calling card is still the ability to mix slicing melodies with subtle atmospherics and brittle black metal and simply create riffs and moments, that for me define what black metal should ‘feel’ like. The tremolo picked assault is tangibly cold and bleak, but carry a harmonic, blistering beauty to them that’s intense and epic. Just listen to the opening salvo of personal favorite “Am Abgrund” (even with its short programmed experimental/beat section). Throw in some of the chord progression and transitions which are simply breathtaking and synths that are regal but understated, working in unison with the riffs rather than being an overbearing accompaniment and the end result is just a swathe of black metal majestics. Closer “Dei Den Sternen” displays a bit more moody control and stern German marching and pacing, but still manages an utterly knee wilting segment of melodic fury at 4:25.

The production is suitably dry but clean, with an adequate audible bottom end, letting the crisp guitars dominate the affair. The band also is kind enough to throw in a cover song to end the album, though its an odd choice in Sun of the Sleepless‘s “Thou, Whose Face Hath Felt the Winter’s Wind”—a more black metal project of Svarldork ,before his Noek, Autumnblaze, Empyrium, The Vision Bleak fame—and the track fits seamlessly with Eis‘s style and delivery rather than some of his later projects background/ambient musical style.

But the five previous songs make this album what is is , and that’s yet another absolutely top notch black metal album, that lacks some of Germany’s usual quirkiness and  Eis just deliver stirring, rousing riffs and a black metal album for the ages. Again.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 22nd, 2012

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