Sieben Seelen (which translates as Seven Souls), is the third album from German Black Metallers, Schwarzach. It’s a concept album dealing with the troubles of the Medieval world, such as pandemics and the persecution of heretics… so a bit like the modern world then, without the internet and nuclear weapons.
And the subject matter translates well into music as well, as this definitely has a Medieval feel to it, as well as an “olde worlde” majestic splendour. Maybe they have created Plague Mask Black Metal… which is a genre I’ve just invented…
Getting back to the real world, this is mid paced (melodic) Black Metal that sneaks in various other elements, albeit in a very subtle and miniscule manner. There’s the more symphonic edges that aren’t quite Summoning, but they drift in that direction, and I like the Teutonic flourishes on Pein und Läuterung. I was waiting for a huge choral section to kick in, but it never did… but Therion covering this would be good, I’m sure.
This album is very much at the more melodic end of the genre, but thanks to the vocals, it still has plenty of bite, which is helped by the harshness (to me) of the German language (Do people ever record ballads and lovesongs in German? Is it even possible?). So while the music may be very easy on the ear, in places, the vocals are snapping at your heels like a guard dog in search of its next meal/victim.
The balance is absolutely spot on and I have to say, I’m enjoying this album more with each play through… time to visit their back catalogue.