Review: In Dornen ”Trauer” [Running Wild Productions]

Review: In Dornen ”Trauer” [Running Wild Productions]

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User Rating : 4 (4 votes)

Hostile, Sad, and Beautiful…

Over ten years of inactivity is quite a long time and it surely is no easy feat to get back on track after such a hiatus. Or maybe it is for some since the pool of ideas has probably seen a decent filling? In case of In Dornen, I don’t know much about said dormancy, but it’s easy to hear that his absence has not hurt the fresh material present on Trauer.

Gathering a bunch of skilled guest musicians and armed with proper songwriting at hand, this (almost album-length) EP offers a collection of songs rooted in atmospheric black metal, but with more variety than you’d usually expect to hear in many corners of this subgenre.

“Im Kindlichen Schmerz” opens the record and – as the title suggests, immediately wraps you into a mantle of adolescent sadness. The drumming is immensely powerful in its double bass delivery, with the harsh screams of both band chief W.K. and samples of agonized children howling atop, creating a rather abrasive environment with classic black metal riffing cutting through the fog.

The depressive atmosphere persists throughout the record’s run-time, with some truly gripping guitar melodies reminiscent of late 90s Judas Iscariot (“Die Welt Wiegt So Schwer”), supported by several nihilistic spoken passages and samples. Be wary that these words gain even more weight if the listener has some understanding of the German language. While there’s some breathing room for the relief offered by the more relaxing simplicity of the piano parts present, giving off some more ambient vibes, it feels more like standing still in the debris of an apocalyptic aftermath, rather than resting on a beach lounger in the summer sun.

With every single song on here offering qualities that should satisfy many black metal connoisseurs, there’s hardly a reason for not checking out Trauer, but I’d like to lead you to the longest opus on here (“Mein Letzter Tag”) which succeeds in cooking up the bold highlight among already worthy material. While the oppressive mood of Trauer remains a steady (and utterly convincing) companion, the blistering affair of this track’s first half lays the listener’s fragile dreams to waste with energetic blast beats, sharp guitars and some of the more aggressive throaty yells above a thick, foggy soundscape.

Yet the subsequent airy clean guitars together with soulful, gentle piano playing manage to conjure up a subtle gleam of hope in the second half, which is only to be crushed a mere minutes later by the plain realization that this world is about to see its final days soon anyway (as openly addressed in the final piano-driven title track). Masterfully crafted material is recommended even for those who generally prefer to reside outside the “depressive” realm.

In Dornen proves once again that being the mastermind of a solo band should never be judged prematurely for an alleged lack of ideas, but also shows that the addition of guest musicians to bounce off ideas and provide new skills offers great possibilities to enhance the creative process. Trauer is a great EP even for people just getting into this kind of black metal and, by all means, at least the final song duo absolutely belongs in the upper echelon of this hostile music category.

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