Sturmpercht - _Geister im Waldgebirg_
(Raunend / Steinklang Industries, 2006)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (9 out of 10)
Sturmpercht are back, weird as ever. That being said, _Geister im Waldgebirg_ might prove to be their most straightforward neofolk album up to date, if the term "straightforward" can ever be pinned next to the term "neofolk", of course. Whereas on previous releases they sounded like a wild song ensemble from the Alps, this time the Austrians are working much more in the field of their comrades Waldteufel -– that being a more melancholic, balladic type of neofolk with archaic feel to it, not that far removed from the traditional music of their fatherland.

_Geister im Waldgebirg_ starts off with an already familiar tune based on German poet and traditionalist Friedrich Hielscher's poem "Wir rufen deine Wölfe". This version, however, differs from the one appearing on the compilation of the same title -– the new take on the poem is better recorded and enriched vocally and instrumentally.

Members of Werkraum, Allerseelen, Sangre Cavallum and Waldteufel contribute to the wonderful atmosphere of the album, leaving their distinct mark on the already layered sound. Flutes, accordion, violins, acoustic guitars and powerful percussion are all employed in weaving the musical vision, which varies from spoken chants and neoclassical backdrop to calm, pastoral themes to martial drumming. The tracks work like magic -– entrancing, enchanting, telling tales of bygone pagan rites, mythical creatures and Naturmystik.

The packaging of the album is most exquisite: CD in glossy digipak or double LP in branded wood cover. All in all, _Geister im Waldgebirg_ is probably the best neofolk album since Of the Wand and the Moon's _Sonnenheim_.


(article published 9/1/2007)

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