Hot on the heels of the Black Metal band’s debut album, ‘Der Kettenritter’ from August 2023, the one-man project hat is Verhinderer returns with that album’s follow-up. A particular high pace of releasing is not something that is uncommon for solo-projects, so let’s call that the advantage of solely helming your own musical visions…
On ‘Die Funkenburg’ Bettler, of whom Verhinderer is the brainchild, takes us on another trip through old tales and this one has pretty much a Edgar Allan Poe atmosphere to it. It practically has it all: an old castle, a prince, some ghosts and even a happy end. Yet, that happy end feels a bit out of place in a Black Metal setting, but in the end the whole story has been put to music quite cinematically, as always the case with Verhinderer.
Musically, we can put ‘Die Funkenburg’ a bit to the mellower side of the project, ‘Der Kettenritter’ sounded quite harsh and had a cold and almost American-styled Black Metal feel. This latest offering however, still has some icy elements to offer and the riffs on the title track for instance are both fierce and piercing, but the overall feel is a little more soothing. While I compared ‘Die Kettenritter’ somewhat with the American Leviathan, this time the music has more in common with Xasthur. That means a darker ambience and an overall eerie feel, properly fittingly to the concept of a haunted (and almost abandoned) castle.
In my review for ‘Der Kettenritter’ I commented on the ‘Tanz Der Underschicht’ track which had the task to get the listener into the part of the story in which a dance was involved, accordingly that track had an apparent medieval piano dance melody. On ‘Die Fukenburg’ we find a track that feels like a sister-song to ‘Tanz Der Underschicht’, ‘Gossengospel’ has yet another part of really odd and uplifting piano melody to it. Although I understand its presence it really comes across to a bit of a mood killer – equal to Taake’s mouth harp or banjo saturnalia. A bit of a shame perhaps, because the moody parts is exactly where Verhinderer is showing its excellence. It is the great melodies that are embedded in the raw riffs and the amazing Dark Ambient/Dungeon Synth parts that make Verhinderer such an interesting musical phenomenon.
Still, apart from the odd-out piano parts, I think that both full-length albums show that Bettler is still improving as a musician. That is mostly palpable in the more atmospheric parts, whether it is in the subcutaneous melodies or in the expertly crafted Dark Ambient/Dungeon Synth passages and interludes. By the way, should you ask me about my favourite: that is without a doubt ‘Der Kettenritter’, on that album all the Verhinderer elements just fall into place a bit more naturally and results in an overall stronger album.