Krieg - _The Black House_
(Red Stream, 2004)
by: T. DePalma (10 out of 10)
After a seasonal round of split releases and limited demos, 2004 brings the third full-length release from Krieg, and the first thing to note (sensibly... obviously, I suppose) is the album cover -- the preferred style having changed over time from the illustrations of Gustave Doré to obscure black & white photography. The cover art captures a psychic prison "In effigie" representing the artists inner "dreamstructure", but also a metaphor for its cognizant manifestation on record. Though the conceptual nature of _The Black House_ gives the most explicit framing for the band's work, emphasizing personality, it remains alienating. The contradiction of this approach is the nucleus of the album's strength. These are not songs begging for understanding. (No lyrics, as usual. No sampling either.) And although this is the most "listenable" Krieg yet, the band retains its raw hallmark, remaining only semi-apparent like a phantom to the listener.

Twelve tracks reflect a wider range of songwriting -- and with them a necessary change in production, allowing the guitar to have more clarity, capturing a more gothic sound in the truest sense: often resounding a synthesis of Misfits (circa _Earth A.D._) and Darkthrone. The slashing, militaristic riffs of "Deviant" and "Sickening Voices Without Speech" display a handle on catchy rhythm breaks that were either non-existent or previously indecipherable in earlier works. There is even a racing but somber instrumental track, complete with closing guitar solo. Imperial's vocals abrasively plow through the storm of sound, belching multi-layered screams that do not stray drastically from his unique and familiar style. But once the ceremonial, trodden tones of "Venus in Furs" (Velvet Underground) enter, Imperial is able to sing-scream over the slow chord changes, which is surreal enough and compounded by the euphoric stupor of the music itself. In a genre so accustomed to masking so much sameness in bloated and overused descriptions, there is only one term that truthfully describes this type of sound, in a word (most innocently): Separatist.


(article published 31/7/2004)

4/26/2005 T DePalma 7 Krieg - Sono lo Scherno
4/13/1998 A Lewandowski 8 Krieg - Rise of the Imperial Hordes
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