Review: KLAMM “Misanthropocene” [Disharmonia Records]

Review: KLAMM “Misanthropocene” [Disharmonia Records]

- in Reviews

On the first day of summer Disharmonia Records have released third full-length album Misanthropocene of German atmospheric black metal band Klamm, after seven years of meaningful silence. Three albums for 15 years of existence isn’t so much, but for these Germans the quality always prevailed over quantity, and Misanthropocene is not an exception. Once again, their eloquent musical visions were released with such a sophisticated homage to death and human corruption.

Atmospheric black metal often goes hand in hand with folk metal, taking inspiration in nature, and although Klamm intersperse into their music some folkish motives, they are not interested in topics about significance of nature. They rather focus more on social problems and metaphysical matters, exposing the ugliest side of the existence. Their lyrics are truly filled with philosophical finesse and profound dirtiness of the society, even poetizing the meaning of death, which seems almost desirable under such social discrepancies. The age of misanthropes and non-emphatic people, who never even notice that they are choking on their own vomit and blood. And these stupendous stories satiate the music itself, dirtying the minds of the listeners in such an exquisite manner.

The longevity of the songs alludes on mood shifting in advance, but Klamm prefer not to focus on dramatic moves, but still these transitions aren’t too smooth or predictable. Sometimes the music speeds up to a pure black metal craziness, but sometimes it slows down to acoustic pieces, full of romantic sorrow and meditativeness. It’s not even clear what is more important for Klamm – black metal foundation or atmospheric side, Misanthropocene is soaked in atmospheric visions almost with cinematic tension, but in such a dark manner, that it sounds almost creepy. The melancholic sadness has also the principal role in creating this atmospheric splendor. But even this rich solemnity is kind of dreary, riddled with dystopian duality of death.

The best part of this album is the fact, that Klamm have never pushed themselves into boundaries of black metal’s rules, so they are opened to any kind of experiments, and they do it in such a gentle way, that black metal doesn’t lose its primeval spirit. The brightest ethnic motives imbue some kind of ancient nostalgic feelings on the longest track “Anthropocene”, and this song also offers acoustic romantic adventures and even disharmonic structures. The psychedelic elements also amplify their avant-garde roots, but not overelaborating the pure art of music with those (“Sun Invocation” or “Notre Flamme”). “Death Worship” teeters on the brink of post-black/shoegaze dominion, granting it some optimistic aftertaste. But all the melancholic passages remind of Agalloch or even Empyrium, but for Klamm even the most mournful parts don’t transform into some snotty love ballads for nervous young ladies, the strong spirit of deathly wickedness of the world rules even in them.

The well-coordinated team did absolutely amazing job – the rhythm section cohesively create ritualistic aura; catchy, but non-standard guitar riffs wander into progressive realm; but the diversified vocals (mainly screaming) increase the emotional background. So Klamm have managed to build something dual and controversial as the death itself, successfully combining the emotional momentum with thoughtful and formal rigidity.

The diversity and atmospheric affluence perfectly describe the music of Klamm and with every album it becomes more and more intricately enrichened with fresh ideas. Their manifold inner peace is also displayed on the eerie and detailed cover art, so precisely reflecting their prophesied social issues. Misanthropocene is a record that shows uniqueness of the musicians in the terms of normalcy of stylistic games, and it’s a rare phenomenon, with such profound investigations and flow of musical ideas to stay true to classical metal and not to go over tantalizing possibilities, that avant-garde music can offer.

Release date: June 1, 2021

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