Autumn equinox is here, and to celebrate the beauty of the leaves turning shades of red, green and bronze, Germany’s Waldgeflüster offers us with their latest EP, ‘Unter Bronzenen Kronen’. The atmospheric Black Metal band is not one to rest on their laurels, but fans of the band have have had a bit of a wait for the follow-up of their latest full length, the in 2021 released ‘Dahoam’. And they get their serving of something old, something new, something borrowed and something ehm Black with this latest EP.
The four tracks on this EP together span approximately 29 minutes of material, of which the title track is a new song. In this we find the band’s open and warm atmospheric Black Metal sound, that reminds me of acts like Alcest, Agalloch and maybe a distant tone of Ulver and Katatonia. The dreamy and yearning sense of melancholy is accompanied by screams and clean vocals, of which the latter particularly impress in the higher notes and more epic timbre towards the end of the song. With ‘The Pit’ we then find the band covering Panopticon once again, something they had previously done in 2016 for the song ‘Norwegian Nights’. The cover version of ‘The Pit’ performed by Waldgeflüster is quite different, taking the strumming banjo of the original into a much heavier and lucid state, with the humble clean vocals as a more repressed counterpart to the music. Despite the very different renditions, Waldgeflüster particularly impresses with this heavy interpretation that even features some cellos, combining into a beautiful song that feels deeply autumnal and nostalgic. To me, this is the highlight of the EP!
With ‘Herbst Befiel das Land MMXXIII’ we then continue with a reworked version of the song off the debut ‘Herbstklagen’. While clearly recognizable compared to the original version, such as the way the title is shrieked to start the song, this is not a direct conversion of the song. Rather, it’s a reinterpretation with familiar riffs and lyrics, yet with years of added experience and an updated twist to the songwriting that leaves some elements out while putting others more to the front. And obviously, the song title is a perfect fit with the theme of autumn. ‘Black Flies’ then is yet another cover, this time by Ben Howard. As with ‘The Pit’, it leaves little of the original except for melodies and lyrics, which was both expected as well as welcomed: who really wants to hear a nearly identical cover version of anything? It’s a more chugging and heavy song, but the tremolo melody and Katatonia-like clean vocals give it a distinct fall feeling.
‘Unter Bronzenen Kronen’ offers quite a bit of value with something new, a reworked song from their earliest days, but also successful additions of their sound to two tracks that are otherwise quite far from their style, all wrapped in a homage to the fall. Fans of their warm and dreamlike atmospheric Black Metal will not have to look much further than this EP for their soundtrack for autumn.