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German black metal mavericks Porta Nigra earned plenty of favourable reviews four years ago for their sophomore album Kaiserschnitt. Well its successor Schöpfungswut is an equally opulent offering.
Porta Nigra blast their venomous vision from the opening roar of “Die Kosmiker,” which clamps itself to you like a leech before you’re pitched headfirst into a pulsating rhythmic rollercoaster ride. The vocals are spat out with imposing Teutonic authority by new singer Tongue, a little like a sergeant major barking out orders on the parade ground. But through the mayhem lies great melodic power surges that effortlessly hook you in to Porta Nigra’s nightmares.
The epic opener is followed by “Das Rad des Ixion” where the tempo through the first phase keeps the pulse racing. The song does move into other areas though the further we go in with unwieldly solo stretches, some discordant distractions and even some curious chuckling amidst the melee.
Hailing from the city of Koblenz, Porta Nigra have most of the elements you would seek in a black metal band but don’t necessarily paint a canvas with the same strokes as most bands of the genre. As with their previous two albums, Porta Nigra display avante garde tendencies as they stray from the safe path into unchartered territory, as with the medieval-like harmonic chants that surface on “Die Augen des Basilisken.”
There is a theatrical element at play here too and at times you almost have to take a step back to try and register with the various interplays and subtle nuances that the Germans have skilfully thread into the mix.
At just under six minutes “Die Entweihung von Freya” is the shortest of the six tracks but it possesses a gyrating opening riff that’s irresistible in anyone’s book but once Tongue (A of Chaos Invocation) gets to work the room suddenly feels smaller as the sense of doom and fear starts to darken the atmosphere. The wailing guitars at the end escalate the tension as Porta Nigra unleash all their qualities to bring the track to satisfying finale.
Tongue’s tendency towards vocal barks are reminiscent of Porta Nigra’s legendary countrymen Laibach at times, although the Koblenz crushers display enough creativity to stand on their own feet.
The multi-layered “Unser Weg nach Elysium” could be questioned for at times being almost too disorientating. Yet this simply highlights the diverse directions in which Porta Nigra are happy to travel, even phasing the song out under a shimmering soundscape of kaleidoscopic shards before ending with another unmitigated pulse-quickener in the form of the rousing album title track.
As challenging as some of the compositions are, it speaks volumes for Porta Nigra that they are still able to conjure up such a highly listenable album, although undoubtedly one where the appeal will only increase, the more familiar these Germanic gifts become.
You can buy “Schöpfungswut” here: https://amzn.to/2RqiETJ
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