posted on 4/2009 By:
At times, Germany’s Bann (German for a spell of a Hex) plays a haunting, despondent, atmospheric black metal version of My Dying Bride, replete with long, violin laced and pained, depressing songs. But at other times they sound like a horribly over the top, puffy shirted, vampyric, theatrical version of Agathodaimon with emotional problems.
The dichotomy is immediately apparent on 10 minute opener “Der Geiger,” where delicate violins and piano build into icy tremolo blast beats and despondent dirges, but the whole time, vocalist C. Hoffarth is whispering, shrieking, whining and rasping like histrionic, blood sucking Cris Crocker and it offsets the rather artful atmospheres of the music considerably.
And thus is the template for the rest of Æschatologia; a wafer thin produced record that delivers some supine, depressive ambience but ruins it with atrociously forced vocals and some black metal blasting that simply comes across as a little empty. When the German duo is simply focused on creating an atmospheric mood such and such, things are more than acceptable, but when they try to crank things up and be a real black metal band such as early moments of the 12-minute “Schwarze Bulle,” the resultant tinny clamor is completely underwhelming, though the song's later stages do offer up more melancholic restrain, if layered with Hoffarth’s ranting. “Narrenschyff” initially has some very nice, despondent, rending doomy melodies and acoustics, but again Hoffarth’s continual overly emotional whispering and wheezing detracts rather than adds to the ambience, which is a shame as the music itself, especially the song’s mid section is rather good. The depressing violin tinged strains of “Carmina Necrologia” are pure My Dying Bride despite Hoffarth’s best efforts.
Once “Fraß der Flammen: I Póli” rolls by, I’m almost certain I’ve heard each note and riff at some point already in the four prior songs and Hoffarth really gets going about 9 minutes in. However, the album ends with “Die Letzen Dinge (Æschatologia)” which drops the reedy guitars and focus of simple, morose orchestration and it works rather well as a more simple, pure, ambient piece rather than any black metal/doom. Hoffarth’s whispering is a little more fitting, though still rather unwanted. Still, the track is a bit long and wanders, which ultimately is how I feel about Æschatologia on the whole.
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