Release DetailsLABEL Prophecy
RELEASED ON 11/18/2005
posted on 2/2006 By:
Part II of my ‘out of the box’ reviewing extravaganza brings us to Austria and mystical metallers Dornenreich and their fourth effort (their second on Prophecy), Hexenwind. As per most Prophecy Productions releases, you need to go into this with an open mind as their releases are almost always far from traditional metal releases, but suffice to say if you enjoy the label's offerings from the likes of Empyrium, Elend and Autumnblaze, Dornenreich will appeal to you.
Hexenwind lies somewhere between the misty folkish gait of Ulver’s Bergtatt or early Fleurety the majestic, forested ambience of Empyrium and the progressive nature of fellow Germans Enid. It’s all very artsy fartsy and sung in German, laden with acoustics and a mix of raspy chants and whispered vocals, but at its very heart it’s a form of stripped down, tempered and mystical black metal, that’s barely recognizable.
The two man band comprised of Evita and Valnes like their songs long - after the short intro “Von der Quelle” the next two songs “Der Hexe Flammend' Blick” and “Der Hexe Nächtlich' Ritt” take up a whopping 23 minutes with “Der Hexe Flammend' Blick” having a hypnotic singular riff and pace and “Der Hexe Nächtlich' Ritt” being a bit more up tempo has some clean chanting amid the again, simplistic gait and that sort of defines Dornenreich’s sound. They take a stark riff, and stick with it for a long time, but dress it up and garnish it with lots of acoustics, vocal tangents and progressive dressing, but all the while the main riff and structure beats underneath. So it goes without saying, this isn’t ‘rocking out horn throwin’ material’, but more ‘glass of port in the middle of a misty lake at dusk’ type music.
Compared to the proceeding two tracks, the four minute acoustic interlude “Aus Längst Verhalltem Lied”, flies by in no time at all only to give way to the 13 minute “Zu Träumen Wecke Sich, Wer Kann”, a lengthy, evocative whispered diatribe with some beautiful acoustic work, that has slight Flamenco flair overlaying a simple drum beat. It’s actually a pretty stunning track for the style, with an occasional vocal outburst, that delivers hues of introspection. If the whole album had been more akin to this track, it could have been something really special, but as it stands the album's other two ‘main tracks’ are minimalist and intrinsically stark, lacking the final track's emotional variety and musical peaks and valleys.
To their credit, Dornenreich don’t come off as overly pretentious either, I’m never drawn away form the shades of the music by overly progressive or obtuse tangents as Dornenreich mange to deliver their progressive prose within the textural context of almost bare bones ambience. It’s actually rather clever.
Hexenwind is not for everyone who reads this site, but certainly maintains Prophecy’s high standard of skillfully diverse, thoughtful music.
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