Title: Der Krieg
Label: Sanctus Gladius Records
Release Date: 4/26/12
Reviewer: Taylor C.
- Intro – Das Krieg
- Krieg und Blut
- Stacheldraht und Schmerz (Gedenke)
- Tote Reich
- Mein Gott
It has been several years since I first got into music with an unconventional, experimental and avant-garde edge. As far as Christian artists go, I remember one particular album by Mental Destruction that was a metal-mix of industrial, atmospheric, and noisy chaos with little to no song structure. It was an amazing CD titled Straw and, in fact, I listened to it so much that whenever I did the dishes, I could hear harmony in water hitting the stainless-steel sink bottom and forks clanging against glass plates. Because investigational composition can be so autonomous, it is difficult to judge albums that lean more towards the avant-garde. If they truly are experimental, there is not much to compare them to and there is no way of predicting how listeners are going to react to the musical “noise” created.
Der Krieg is one such album. Not quite as random as other experimental bands, this one-man project (backed by Armath Sargon) manages to stay melodic, standing firmly on black metal roots and working slightly outside its parameters by mixing elements of industrial and noise metal. Other than the mechanical and electronic sounds throughout, the most industrial aspect of the album can be heard in the lyrics. Taking up the historical theme of World War II, Der Krieg explores the mindless conformity, animalistic behavior, and psychotic horror of Nazism and warfare in general. Suffering is the main lyrical theme of Der Krieg, and whether he is speaking of women, children, elders, or the individual members of the military, the vocalist does a great job communicating both spiritual and physical terror. These powerful and haunting lyrics are appropriately screamed in the harsh, emotional German language with black metal vocals, which are then distorted into a sound of hypnotizing and echoing static.
Musically, as mentioned, Der Krieg experiments with black, industrial and noise metal—fusing sounds of chilling electronic saws, shrill guitars, bombarding drums, malfunctioning machines, ambient beats, atmospheric keyboards, doomy riffs, industrialized breakdowns, and the roar of bombs and airstrike sirens that coincide perfectly with the WWII motifs. All of these effects are used differently and sparingly, making each track unique. For instance, songs like “Krieg und Blut” and “Tote Reich” are two of the more energetic, black metal influenced tracks (featuring the typical chordy guitars and rapid drum beats, while carefully injecting electronic melodies, quivering noises, ambient echoes and flittering keyboards). Other tracks like “Dachau” have a slower doom quality about them. The last song, “Mein Gott,” begins with an electronically based riff that leads into guitars and keyboards, but then fades into a catchy, headbanging beat that violently marches in step with the vocalist’s words. After this shrieking prayer fades, a simple and somewhat refreshing keyboard outro closes the album quietly. In short, the most positive thing about Der Krieg is that every song is distinguishable from the others.
Despite all my efforts, there is hardly anything negative to point out about this album. I imagine that some listeners will find the 65 minute timeframe to be a little long or the intro and outro to be unnecessary, but I had no problem with either.
Overall: All music is subjective (especially when it wanders into the experimental), but I feel that, with this release, Zero+onE has decisively accomplished something amazing. There is nothing random here. The combination of WWII themes with a mix of industrial, noise and black metal is done to perfection, making Der Krieg both a solemn and exceptionally entertaining album. I encourage any fan of extreme metal to give this a try.
Buy the album here.