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In Luft geritzt


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Album Review

On In Luft Geritzt, Austria's Dornenreich solve their previous problems by going fully acoustic. Their sound has evolved from melodic black metal to a fusion of goth metal and folk that's been an uneasy marriage at best. Now without electricity, their songs ironically have more power. Without the easy trick of amplification, they're forced to show, not tell. In a refreshing change from the over-emoting of before, vocals stay out of the way, limited mostly to dramatic whispers. The record is essentially acoustic guitar plus violin, and the latter is the star. It ranges from sweet and lyrical to stormy and passionate; the human voice has hardly been so expressive. "Dem Wind Geboren" is heartbreakingly lugubrious. "Meer" swoons with romantic Gypsy folk melodies, while "Zauberzeichen" is a small-scale cinema of gorgeous abstraction. The highlights are the Middle Eastern tonalities of "Unruhe," which glowers with keening drones, and "Jagd," which builds to whirling dervish peaks. Yet such storms come in a compact audio ball. The production is warm and intimate, complete with knocking sounds on the wood of the guitar. For Dornenreich, such nakedness may be an aberration, but it expresses their full potential.

In Luft geritzt, Dornenreich
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