Switzerland is a small country in terms of audience compared to others but with an important collection of names, of which legendary institutions Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Coroner, Samael and lately Bölzer are possibly the biggest ones. Ungfell was spawned from an invocation in late 2014 by Menetekel and entered that realm of mighty darkness. After a demo in 2015, a split with the excellent Dakhma the same year, “Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz” is their second album released by Eisenwald Records (Germany), just one year after the celebrated debut “Tôtbringære”.
“Ungfell”, the name which means “misfortune” in old Swiss language, suits the bands concept just perfectly though stands in stark contrast with musical landscape. The greats are honored and always in sight, but it’s apparent that one-manner Menetekel (with the help of session drummer, Vâlant) gives a nod to the godly forefathers with their eccentric approach. Menetekel, is a musically restless character who seems to be constantly working. Since 2015 he released five records as Ungfell and as Wyrgher. Still he is as mysterious as the whole Helvetic Underground Committee he is affiliated with. A hidden cavern of darkness and death which unites Dakhma, Lykhaeon, Wyrgher, Despotic Terror Kommando and Ungfell as an independently working circle.
Ungfell’s second full-length presents raw and rustic Helvetic black metal deeply rooted in medieval lore and tales of pestilent witchcraft which shaped in the shadows of Swiss folklore. This record reveals ten new black metal spells that continue the band’s trademark sound where they fused rustic black metal conjurations and occasional folk instrumentation, which was recorded in Turicum, 2017, mixed by Kerberos and Menetekel and finely mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios, UK.
Mastermind Menetekel expressed in one of his interview that “The Album focuses on medieval tales, especially Swiss ones. It is, in a sense, a conceptual work, even though the tracks are not related to each other. Musically, it is a very typical Ungfell album but it is calmer in its overall character. There is a more melancholic approach to it compared to the previous album in my opinion.” Like Menetekel expressed here, truly the Swiss visionaries played the black metal inspired by the stories of an era marked by obscurity, magic and mysticism. This is translated even more concretely in “Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz” by medieval interludes injecting particular atmospheres connected to the essence.
It begins with a transcendental acoustic intro, hypnotically like mantra melody immediately transported you to their delightful rituals. Which provides a seemingly peaceful beginning and welcomes you to this journey but as soon as you’re given your hand your destiny is, heathen doom and disdain appeared with ‘De Türst und s Wüetisheer’. While ‘Oberlandmystik’ sets the vividness of a mystic zone and from there on established the total tune of the album with an vivid mood to obscenity or perplexing profanity !
This perplexity growing strong with ‘Die Heidenburg’, which scathing to a much more traditional and deep rooted melodic oration of all things old and ancient, specially the outro it’s self like a swirling circle of all things diminishing and returning through eternal recurrence. The warmth and mood of ‘De Fluech Vom Toggeli’ will linger for hours but it’s just another silence before eruption in ‘Die Hexenbrut Zu Nirgendheim’ .
Menetekel, has to say about the song; “Come and witness the foul audio rites of “Die Hexenbrut zu Nirgendheim,” in which a cruel coven engages in the most foul human sacrifice. There will be no salvation; nothing can be gained from crying out to the sky. The coven’s vile summoning of fel power shall ensure their lord’s satisfaction. Now as then, allow cloven hooves to crack your bones…” , which surely does felt throughout. With a transformation the appearance of ‘Guggisberglied’ is a majestic nod to probably the oldest known Swiss folk song. It was first mentioned in 1741, the oldest surviving text version dates from 1764, certainly a showed the rich tapestry of Swiss music and culture. Certainly like return to the primitive path exploring with ‘Der Ritter von Lasarraz’, the initiation of this creation with the spine chilling shrieks and howls from the summoned wolfpacks while it’s ends with a mind altering battle between shivering and empowering harmony and melodies. And the end comes with ‘Raserei des Unholds’, which aptly means Rage of the Fiend as it can banish the minds with utter cunningness while also, can implode the inner self with spirited energy.
From a artwork connoting a barbaric Middle Ages with its halberd and its primitive weapon mass, “Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz” is carrying the medieval myths of marches and pestilences like a inner spirit, which can be felt like a arcane yet spirited journey, if explore with openness. Menetekel, deserve immense praise for the fascinating artistry and musical creativity he poured in this record. The vivid and engrossing music of Ungfell shall pierce through minds of all souls who seek beyond the genre experiences and also to all minds who believe Black Metal is a sophisticated art form which transcends boundary and zones. (Rocky)