Urfaust - Teufelsgeist review

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Band: Urfaust
Album: Teufelsgeist
Release date: November 2020

01. Offerschaal Der Astrologische Mengvormen
02. Bloedsacrament Voor De Geestenzieners
03. Van Alcoholische Verbittering Naar Religieuze Cult
04. De Filosofie Van Een Gedesillusioneerde
05. Het Godverlaten Leprosarium

How precisely can there be a Devil's soul when the soul is the Devil?

When I first saw the announcement for Urfaust's new album and I read the title of the then-upcoming record Teufelsgeist, I was kinda scratching my head because I could swear this wasn't the first time I saw that name. Of course, I was actually thinking of Geist Ist Teufel, Urfaust's debut from 2004, and also the first album of their I listened too. What gives? Re-recording? No. Spiritual successor? Sort of, but not that much more than any other Urfaust record since. But sure, having your first German-titled album in almost a decade be a play on the title of your first album must be a sort of power move on Urfaust's side, as well as a moment of self-contemplation. Or they ran out of ideas. Probably not.

Thematically, it has more to do with the diptych of music and intoxication. Devils, trance, bacchanalia, anything that gets you to break away from your usual reflexes, either through demonic possession, or a good bottle of gin (showing that Urfaust are true alcoholic connoisseurs). Their music has always had its themes centered around meditation, possession, rituals, the loss of self, and the burden of occult myths. But none of their albums so far were so deep on the subject of intoxication. So for the purposes of this review, I have poured myself a glass of gin (not Urfaust's sadly), and I strongly advice you to do the same, within reason. With or without tonic.

Chances are that the average listener won't be able to tell the lyrics apart anyway, so having a thematic album despite that relies on being able to transmit the feelings through the medium alone. How should an album about intoxication feel in any other conceivable way but intoxicating itself. And during its slightly-over-half-an-hour of runtime, Teufelsgeist mirrors the experience, from the first taste, to the euphoria of living in the moment, to slowly but surely losing yourself, to the dark depressing realization that you'll never drown those demons, nor will you ever truly escape their grasp. It can five you the illusion of lifting your spirit, but in the end, alcohol is a depressant. And, in a way, a devil. Why do you think hard liqueur is often called "spirit'?

Of course to achieve this and to properly mirror that feeling, Urfaust had to up their ante. The droning choirs, the bass riffs, the noise wall, the seducing vocals, all of them feel incredibly potent. To call them ambiental at this point is an understatement, but it is perhaps here where they most succesfully use their sense of ambiance more concretely. It does, indeed, allude back to the feeling of Geist Ist Teufel, but it turns it over its head, from the cold lo-fi forest-like cult-like feeling of the original, to the warm lushly produced and more elegant feeling of this one. It's not like Urfaust's work since didn't increase the recording quality, but it here, because of the parallels to the original, that is becomes more evident just how much they master both sides of the coin, and neither of them lose any of their impact in inducing a trance.

More than 15 years after Geust Ist Teufel, no band managed to replicate the gothic, intoxicating, and depressive feeling of the Dutchmen. How barely anyone decided to emulate that style of clean vocals within black metal is beyond me. But is seems that with no one to properly pass the torch to, they had to push the sound forward by themselves again.

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


Written on 26.11.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 61 users
27.11.2020 - 21:26
So excited to listen to the full album, aoty material.
"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."
30.11.2020 - 22:43
Holy shit the first track on this is INCREDIBLE
06.12.2020 - 16:21
I agree the first track is really massive, but I feel like it just kind of loses my attention after that. Maybe it's just my internet brainrot, but it's kinda more boring than I hoped it would be. They keep trying to do empty space meditation but with less layers and that kind of defeats the purpose.
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill

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