Last summer was really important period for a new black metal band Leiþa from German Bavaria. On 24th of June small German label Noisebringer Records (also responsible for all the records of other projects of their mastermind Noise) has released their debut album Sisyphus. And on this record we can immerse ourselves into almost 40 minutes of black metal with some depressive vibes.
Noise is also known within his other black metal projects – Kanonenfieber (that focuses on more melodic side and pays homage to WWI) and Non Est Deus (more angry and straightforward band with some anti-Christian beliefs). But with Leiþa he resurrects his gentler side where melancholic moods are interjected with suicidal tendencies. He is a multi-instrumentalist and all his projects he manages by himself, only inviting guest drummers. And though he could promote his music in one of his bands (better for business opportunities), he chose to separate his ideas and concepts.
Sisyphus offers us to dig deeper into black metal’s emotional flaws, but without spoiling its unstable sanity with overwhelming self-destructing impulses. Strangely enough, but this music can’t pass the test of joining the rank of classical DSBM albums, simply because there’s still a lot of hope and even optimistic mood. Technically we can consider this record as depressive black metal, but in truth, all this depression is smoothed away by melancholic and romantic torrents. Not that’s this band is soft and whiny, no, it still has a lot of steel and traditional black metal aggression, but in a more sophisticated and calm way. The lyrics of this project are also inclined towards gloomy and sorrowful topics, but they are performed in his native tongue (he only sings in English through the name of Non Est Deus).
The sound is far from perfect on this release, his screams are too loud and all the rhythm is literally based in the background, too muted to enjoy its intensity and heaviness. The pace on this album is very eloquent – when it accelerates, the music becomes more atmospheric, anxious and emotional; when it slows down, then it’s time for melancholy to reign, denuding depressive black metal’s concealed treasures. It’s ridiculously logical – when slow = sad, and fast = aggressive. But is everything else so primitively foreseeable and logically accurate? No, there’s a lot of unpredictable versatility during this album, sometimes a little bit messy and impertinent, but without chaotic perception. Progressive hints peek out from distant corners and melodic softness allures somewhere beyond, however, no zigzagging towards experimental domain, Leiþa is a project that feels comfortable in steady hands of pure black metal.
There’s a lot going on throughout this record, but almost invisibly, so you need to set up your ears to be able to recognize something more than traditional black metal. “Sterben um zu Sterben” has some classical influence with extra melodiousness. The emotional “Prometheus” also kinda opens the gates of atmospheric refinement. The longest and diverse composition “Endlos” consists of different parts, but soothingly slow bridges connect them in a harmonious way. Noise likes to play with introductions; these are mainly melodic and tranquil, preparing for heavier and fiercer parts. “Der Feind lebt in Mir” even shows some oriental elements, enriching repetitive and melancholic riffs. The songs are not too complicated, based on one-two main riffs; and they flow forwards in a rather gradual manner.
The name of this album (and the cover art is echoed by it) is related to a Greek legend about the Corinthian king Sisyphus, punished by god Zeus. He is forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, but after it was nearing the top, it fell again, and so Sisyphus repeats this vain action for eternity. We can draw a parallel with debut album of Leiþa – repetitive, monotonous, doomed, but with hidden surprises. Personally, I have plenty of doubts that Sisyphus can agree with these parallels about the hidden surprises, but we, the observers, can see his actions from different angles, witnessing that every ascent of his is different, but only when you allow yourself to use your third eye.
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