Charnel Winds - _Der Teufelsbund_
(Werewolf Records, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
Here's another band seemingly having an identity crisis, delivering an inconsistently varied musical material, finding its charm and eventually even its own identity, as ironic as it may seem. Charnel Winds are a Finnish band formed in 2003, to whom 2011's album _Der Teufelsbund_ (loosely translates to "The Devil's Band") would be a debut appearance. So here we have a Finnish band using a German album title, English lyrics and some Hebrew lettering within its booklet.

That having been said, a mixed bag of linguistic influences would not be a party crasher in the case of this album's music, for the know-how the musicians behind this enigmatic outfit are equipped with is undeniable; they deliver classic and classy black metal of the (predominantly) slow kind that is both emotional, atmospheric, melodic and very much dark. The musical material is strong, the songwriting is well crafted and brutally effective, the execution is basic yet flawless.

The band wisely incorporate occult rock influences that verge on the avantgarde; something akin to Ved Buens Ende's or Virus' etiquette. These rock curiosities -- usually accompanied by clear vocals performance of the theatrical, baritone style -- come in the form of either interludes within or in between tracks, or as whole standalone tracks. These are easily the best thing about this album; peculiar and twisted anthems of beauty and madness.

See, the black metal crafted by Charnel Winds is good, but not utterly exceptional. However, the less metallic material here is much more compelling, unique, singular; it renders the whole recording occult-like, colors it with esoteric and dark vibes and deep aural shades of mystery and ritualistic essence. Combining the black metal part and the rock oriented material, the outcome is sky-rocketing: a synergistic effect that boosts everything within this recording towards the sublime, this album then becomes a tool of transcendence.

These years of absence, the long hiatus since the band's inception till the introduction of this very album to the unsuspecting masses, was surely well spent; the band have probably worked on their own identity, perfecting their songwriting skills, and even though they still have work to do in both departments, _Der Teufelsbund_ is one hell of an album; an album you wouldn't want to miss, an album charged with electrifying qualities seldom found in today's metal.

Highly recommended!


(article published 8/12/2011)

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