Rainer Landfermann - Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit review

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Band: Rainer Landfermann
Album: Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit
Release date: June 2019

01. Langsam, Hinters Licht
02. Kunstvoll
03. Vertieft
04. Wir Fehlen Alle
05. Schneller Als Sehnsucht, Größer Als Eins
06. Intuition
07. Hingabe
08. Genius Drang
09. Ursprüngliches
10. Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit

Rumors of Rainer Landfermann's return to Bethlehem proved to be greatly exaggerated, for which I will throw a question mark in Jürgen Bartsch's general direction, but to our great fortune we have nonetheless been granted a visitation by the supreme Landfermann this year.

Followers of Landfermann will join me in lamenting that his supremely unsettling vocals, a singular sound that may best be described as the screams of a burning orphanage, have graced a paltry sum of recordings over the years: one legendary Bethlehem album (Dictius Te Necare), later followed by the two-song Alles Tot EP, and a single Anaal Nathrakh song, not mentioning occasional backing vocals for his "main" project, Pavor. To have another full album steered by his bloodcurdling cries is a great gift, and Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit reminds us that we were right to fear this voice; Landfermann sounds a little more ragged, but his splitting falsetto and canine snarling are as frightening as ever (see the terrifying "Kunstvoll").

On the crucial point of matching music to voice, he succeeds far more than I had realized possible. I had half-imagined that Landfermann would play it safe with some kind of evil, doomy black metal thing vaguely reminiscent of Dictius Te Necare, letting his lungs do all the legwork. I now see what disrespect this assumption was, for Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit is a challenging piece of music, not fettered to any one tempo, tone, texture, or genre; it is jarring, angular, and voracious, and also slick, careful, and musical. The album draws from both Bethlehem and Pavor, fluent in many genres and respecting none in particular. The usual guitar-bass-drums trio suffices for some tracks, with guitars taking lead for ugly, melancholic black metal passages and the bass slamming into the foreground for precise bursts of technical death metal. In the album's metal moments, the union of these two styles - one made to be raw and sloppy, one made to be measured and perfect - effects an atmosphere of unsettling disjuncture, and I mean that in the best way possible.

But Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit is not made entirely of metal moments, and that is what makes it a special album. Often, Landfermann leaves aside the conventional extreme metal approach (to the extent there is anything conventional about it), conducting double bass, piano, and choirs alongside his nimble bass guitar; there are jazzy, mood-setting keyboard solos, haunting soundscapes, and other strange interludes aplenty. There is loud and fast metal captained by piercing howls, but these songs are also ominous and monastic, technical, proggy, classically dramatic; on some occasions the album even pursues an uplifting tone, particularly at the end, that completely contradicts everything you might associate with Landfermann, but his sky-high shrieks in the background, his heavy breathing, and the tension in the air all carve a fearful path through otherwise innocuous piano-and-string melodies. The choirs may seem benign, but only for a moment before death swoops in to play a sick bass solo and explode like the inside of that dude from Scanners. Then there's the metal side I didn't even get to: the crushing, dirge-like passages that wallow neck-deep in slow, heavy, doom-tripping murder music. This album is so curiously dark and nasty, sometimes pretty, always the album I didn't know I needed Landfermann to release.

The single, "Vertieft," exemplifies the bizarre blend of sounds that Landfermann has to offer, but each song adds some extra twist. With so little of Landfermann on the market, I probably would have been satisfied with anything he did, even if it were an unimaginative basement black metal album with nothing other than his voice to set it apart, but he took that extra step and recorded something I've never heard before. Fitting, for a man whose voice doesn't really fit any genre of music crafted by human hands.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Written on 25.06.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 111 users
25.06.2019 - 08:22
Man those are some vocal chords
Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

2021 goodies
03.07.2019 - 16:34

Angizia on steroids. Neato

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