• Dornenreich - Freiheit (2014) - A pretentious songwriter output - 42% (29/12/14)

    Dornenreich - Freiheit (2014)

    I've liked to listen to selected Dornenreich songs in the past since I discovered them on the outstanding neofolk compilation "Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings" including bands such as Empyrium, Les Discrets and Ulver. As "Freiheit" is supposed to be the last album before a longer break from the Austrian neofolk trio and as I thought the song titles sounded epic, philosophical and poetic, I decided to give an entire Dornenreich record a fair chance. 

    As it turns out, I'm rather disappointed with the outcome of this release. All eight songs basically sound the same. Inoffensive acoustic guitars meet melancholic violin melodies and whispered vocals over some nature Sound samples. This kind of laid back atmosphere might work for one or two tracks but not for eight songs with a running time of more than forty-seven minutes. Most of the tracks sound too alike, pretentious and unspectacular to leave any deeper Impression and there are definitely no significant flamenco rhythms or world music elements as the press text claims. The lyrics desperately try to be intellectual and that's exactly why they aren't and turn out to be pretentious, predictable and passive.

    Only two songs manage to stand out a tiny little bit. "Im ersten aller Spiele" has an unusual song structure and is quite hard to digest as an opener. Even though this unpredictable attempt at progressive song writing goes nowhere, it breaks with the more relaxed writing by numbers of the other songs. The other remarkable song happens to be "Das Licht vertraut der Nacht" because it's the only song on here which includes electric bass and guitars as well as harsher vocals that go back to the band's atmospheric black metal roots. Sadly, this emotional outburst is rather short and not impressively played either. If the band had used the contrast of truly diversified world music elements and passionate extreme metal passages more, this album would have been much more interesting.

    As it turns out to be, "Freiheit" sounds tame, repetitive and dull and repeats the same calm melodies, lyrical topics and down-stripped song writing ideas over and over again. This is not at all what I associate with an epic term like freedom but rather with intellectual boredom. In my opinion, neofolk is more than acoustic guitars and violins plus poetic German lyrics over some samples of nature sounds but that's the only Thing Dornenreich offers on this hollow release. I would rather describe this effort as an acoustic songwriter output that might please to some lonesome self-consumed poets but not to truly open-minded fans of passionate world music or atmospheric extreme metal.

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