One of the first albums I reviewed for Vampire Magazine was Grabnebelfürsten’s debut “Von Schemen und Trugbildern”. Until Melechesh’s Sphynx it remained in my top 5 and I still play it very often. Needless to say that I had high expectations of this second album. In my mail correspondention with K.R. Eisnebel he told me that this album would be faster and more extreme than “Von Schemen und Trugbildern”. Eisnebel was right, yet happily enough Grabnebelfürsten remained loyal to their distinctive sound, the reason I love this band so much.
Grabnebelfürsten > black metal it says on the back of the booklet, and that is completely true; just listen to ‘Der letzte König und sein Architekt’ for instance. Grabnebelfürsten absolutely plays black metal, yet their music contains so much more! I called them Brechtian black metal once, and I stick to that. Someone who has really read my review of the debut is drummer Marschhausen; his drumming has most certainly improved a lot, and gone is the complaint about lack of variety. Way to go Marschhausen! Yet somehow I doubt that this had anything to do with my comment, and more with the fact that the band has grown in two years, both a a band and as individual musicians.
Like said, the average tempo of the songs is much higher than on their debut. ‘Abstrakte Wunden Verbaler Schwerter’ opens the album, faster and more ferocious than I ever heard Grabnebelfürsten before. And there is no time to take a breath, as immediately after this one ‘Schicksalbrüder’ follows. Although he calls himself ‘SeelenSchlachter’ now instead of ‘Sturm Deiner Winter’, he can be easily recognized: singing in various voices, whether it is desperate screaming, a death metal like grunt or whatever experiment he is doing with his voice, like singing on a clean tone: he really uses his voice as an instrument.
The same shrillness that can be heard in the voice of ‘Seelenschlachten’ can also be heard in the guitarsound of the band, and it matches well! The band plays a complicated style of black metal with lots of changes in tempo, which makes it possible for an album with only six songs that lasts 50 minutes not to bore one single moment. Their lyrics are not so much misanthropic, yet more pessimistic (about mankind). What I also like very much is that they do have a typical German sound; I am a sucker for bands that add some elements of their own culture into the music instead of mindlessly imitating what the Norwegians have already done before!
Raging at moments, threatening heavy at others, and all there is in between: Grabnebelfürsten plays a very versatile way of music, without using keyboards, although I do have a suspicion that way on the background a keyboard is used in the chorus on closing ‘Irgendwie/Irgendwo/Irgendwann’. Iwein of Carpe Noctem said it in a interview; there are plenty of talented German black metal bands, and to me Grabnebelfürsten is in the top of that league!
Again an album of which the band has taken a lot of care on all aspects; like on the debut a booklet that complies with the (German) poetic lyrics and a sound that exceeds many productions on small metal independent labels; who says great black metal needs to sound like shit? Combined with their own style of great music played by excellent musicians I seriously advice all of you to try this great band out! At the moment I am still not sure which one of their two albums I like best; it is hard to choose between two great albums, yet the debut was 10 minutes longer, and of such metal I can never get enough! Ask me again in a year, when both albums of this promising band have had many turns in my CD player. Buy this one in the meantime!!! (Neithan)