Dornenreich - _Flammentriebe_
(Prophecy Productions, 2011)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
While Dornenreich's career dates back to the second half of the '90s, having released their first album in 1997, it wasn't until their Prophecy Productions 2001 debut _Her von welken Nächten_ that they came to my attention. At the time I was really won over by the feeling of half-deranged genius that oozed from that album, which still remains as a relevant step in the history of avantgarde black metal. Their successors failed to captivate me anywhere near as much however, which coupled with several years of silence made them more of a memory of the past for me. Their return with the quirky "acoustic black metal" of _In Luft geritzt_ certainly put them back in my map however, so my expectations for 2011's _Flammentriebe_ were high.

To some extent, they have returned to a style that maintains many of the elements that made _Her von welken Nächten_ so interesting. That should not imply a regression of any kind, however; it simply reflects the path that led them to the acoustic _In Luft geritzt_, combined with a new revision of their metallic edge of old. The result is relatively unique for a number of reasons: soulful German-sung blackened vocals, varied and adventurous guitar style, violin sequences thrown into the thick of it, flowing acoustic breaks, and a distinctive overall atmosphere. This is all brilliantly encapsulated in opener "Flammenmensch", but each song strives for something a little different. Sometimes the songwriting is catchier and more upbeat, or darker and more aggressive, but it always avoids following predictable patterns.

At its best, the album is memorable and captivating, with music that is finely composed and crafted, unusual, and ambitious. On songs such as the superb "Wandel geschehe", it is also strongly emotional; others, like the almost entirely instrumental closer "Erst deine Träne löscht den Brand" successfully tackle an expansive, progressive approach. _Flammentriebe_ may still have the occasional less inspired moment, of course, but there is very little to fault here. Dornenreich have created one of the undoubted highlights of 2011, and a mandatory album for anyone interested in intelligent music that can be dark, intense, beautiful and haunting without having to resort to the same old clichés.


(article published 26/2/2011)

5/30/2014 P Azevedo 9 Dornenreich - Freiheit
7/2/2008 P Azevedo 8 Dornenreich - In Luft geritzt
1/12/2007 P Azevedo 8 Dornenreich - Durch Den Traum
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 Dornenreich - Her Von Welken Nachten
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