Label: AOP Records
Release Date: 29 March 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
“Lebensnehmer” is the third full-length release from ELLENDE, a one-man Austrian atmospheric, post-black metal outfit. The brains behind the solo project is Lukas Gosch from both Roadking and Svarta. Within ELLENDE, Gosch typically assumes all duties, however on this album he enlists the talents of a studio drummer (referred to as P.F). Additionally, as if being the creative musical force behind the act wasn’t enough, the intensely brooding cover art for the album was also contributed by Grosch, drawing inspiration from Viennese artist Hans Larwin (1938-era)
Quite simply, this album is one of the most creative and exciting releases that I’ve heard this year. From the outset I was caught in its vice-like grip and as the album progressed I fell deeper into its crushing embrace. The eight tracks will keep you enrapt with a blend of catchy melodies, gorgeous ambience, and raw aggression. Each song is teeming with unique and innovative elements that are so masterfully delivered that everything fits perfectly in it’s place, like some kind of grim auditory jigsaw puzzle.
The intro opens with soaring ambience and leads flawlessly into the furious blast beats of “Augenblick”. This alternation between the slow and sombre tracks to those that are thick, fast and hostile is repeated throughout the album. The formula creates a weaving of the various moods and is successful in keeping the listener fully engrossed for the album’s stirring 51 minute duration.
The two instrumentals on this album are incredibly satisfying. Track four, “Ein Stueck Verzweiflung” builds up slowly, beginning with clean, bombastic guitar work (strangely reminiscent of a hard rock ballad) and cold military style drumming, culminating into a beautifully thick atmospheric creation. In contrast, the second instrumental track, “Liebkosung des Eiswinds” is an epic synth piece. Both tracks are slightly shorter in length but serve well in switching the mood and create thick ambience.
“Du wärst eine schöne Leiche” is a standout track that erupts into being with raw black vocals, blast beats and furious guitar work. The closing track “Atemzug” is truly breathtaking, the atmosphere is built up with an ethereal piano piece along with an acoustic guitar, before morphing into thick, heavy riffs, and raw vocals that induce despair and melancholy.
The songwriting for “Lebensnehmer” was completed over a two year period, and this investment of time and deep contemplation shows through the creative composition and flawless execution of all elements of the album. The rich melodies are delivered by various means, from atmospheric piano and synth sounds, clean guitars and alluring acoustic, to the quintessential thick and heavily distorted riffs. The diversity in drum work across the album is refreshing and the grisly vocals round everything off perfectly. The result is a deeply gratifying and varied sound that invokes a blend of emotions, from aggression and anguish, to tranquility and delight.
This album is a phenomenal work that is full of surprises. The overall excellence of the release must be attributed, in part, to the immense creativity, innovation, talent and careful contemplation that has evidently been invested in it. I am happy to recommend this album to you and hope that it finds the success truly deserving of such a high quality creation. 8/10 Proua Metallist
8/10 To Greatness and Glory
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