Here is a remastered reissue of Ungfell’s self released debut album, and for those unfamiliar with Swiss duo Ungfell, as I was, they play a form of raw, demented black metal inspired by medieval times and the dark ages. Think Peste Noire meets Lugubrum and early Abigor (Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age/Orkblut).

It’s a jarringly tinny release, even after a remaster, but it all works. Especially when mixed with the band’s injections of flute-y, folky, dark ages instrumentation (intro “Viures Brunst”, “Slahtære”, as well as buried in most of the 6 other tracks).

While bands like say Obsequiae, deliver a more shimmering, charming, regal tale on the dark ages, Ungfell is the dirty, filthy, peasant ridden, witch filled era of the black death. The shrill tremlo riffs and howling, shrieking vocals are fittingly, traditionally  black metal (“Die bleiche Göttin”, “Der Ûzsieche und sîne Grimmede”) with random injections of monkish chants (“Gottes Acker”), and the odd burst of unexpected zaniness  (the baby in “Wechselbalg”, that almost country solo in “Trommler Tod”?).

But the album has this earthy, muddy, authentic medieval charm I can’t put my finger on. The little acoustic and accordion medieval bursts (“Trommer Tod”, “Der Ûzsieche und sîne Grimmede”, “Wechselbalg” ) are so unexpected but fit perfectly as well with the enjoyably primal black metal. Closer “Der Opfersprung” is my favorite tune with sly melodies, slightly more somber mood and close out.

And while I can’t compare the remaster to the original, Eisenwald did a nice job with the 6 panel, card digipack and mini poster. They also added “Das Hexenmal (Andachtsjodler)” a 2019 song as a bonus, and it has a much richer, beefier production and fluid melding of almost Sühnopfer levels of busy melodies and dark ages atmospherics. I’m definitely keeping an eye on this duo, and so should you if you want your black metal a little more brilliantly bizarre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 18th, 2019


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