Black Metal, Metal

Kluizenaer – Ein Abbild der Leere (Review)

Album:Ein Abbild der Leere
Genre:Black Metal
Release Date:18th February, 2022
Released viaWolves of Hades
Breath:Sun.:Bone:Blood:. Records
Cover Artwork ©Kluizenaer, 2022

It might be sensible to recommend you to better sit down before we go into this. Honestly, better take a seat and a deep breath. This is going to be about German Black Metal outfit Kluizenaer’s latest full-length release Ein Abbild der Leere (roughly translated as “A Portrayal of Emptiness”) that is released on the 18th of February via Wolves of Hades and Breath:Sun.:Bone:Blood:. Records.

Having started off as a one-man project located in the Noise and Ambience spheres, Kluizenaer later on emerged as a three-member outfit glancing more transparently at the spheres of direct Black Metal. After the first full-length Radbraak, Ein Abbild der Leere can be seen as the sophomore record although there were three EPs in between. On the last EP Das Ewige Schweigen, Kluizenaer premiered as a full band taking larger inspiration from a straightforward Black Metal tone.

Hence, it might be evident that the 2nd full-length release was eagerly awaited. Anyone who has ever listened into a Kluizenaer release already knows why this article opened up advicing to take a seat. The immensely dense atmosphere that is conveyed on those releases is drastically overwhelming. Cautiosly approaching the opener “Verewigung” immediately showcases that this full-length is about to consume you as well. A majestic soundscape welcomes the listener, slowly leading you towards a distant riff that introduces you to a disturbingly chaotic sound. Black Metal malice is released upon you with thundering blast beats, searing guitar riffs and despaired vocals.

The production in general is quite tight so don’t expect any raw Black Metal on this album. This is exactly what the sound of Kluizenaer needs to be, though, since it captures the immense energy that is delivered. Oscillating between furious, blasting and slow, crushing sequences, the drums mark the aspect of setting the different atmospheres. The guitars switch between chaotic fast riffing, smothering slow playing and occasional almost welcoming warm acoustic sound.

On the first track “Verewigung” the Black Metal tone that can be heard already finds several forms, especially when lead by FFF who is capable to switch between immediate Black Metal vocals, screams that rather remind of DSBM and sequences that also contain vocals that rather sound like Blackened Crust Punk. Those vocals are set rather in the back of the mix thus sounding very feeble amidst the frantic drums and guitars. Immediately having been reminded of one of my favorite Black Metal releases Elder Gods by Sun Worship, I instantly fell for this production. With faint vocals like these in the background, the fight between vocals and instruments feels astonishingly overwhelming, conveying the most immediate desperation.

Next to the very present and distinct Black Metal character, Kluizenaer also add a lot of atmosphere with Doom sequences that set a break within the tracks thus serving as a possibility to contemplate. Especially the sequence at the end of “Verewigung” is absolutely striking, first of all bringing the manic sound to a halt and then emerging with pounding and slow guitars that decelerate to mere strokes. Eventually, the guitars switch into a clean sound and turn from sonical devastation to warm acoustic guitar that is yet still accompanied by far distant desolate screams that follow until the speed is accelerated again. That very spot at which distorted guitars are overtaken by clean sound – the very moment when the first acoustic sound hits you – is just impossible to put into words.

The third track “Oelgoetze” is an instrumental interlude that captures the suffocating atmosphere of the entire release. While pulsating percussions remain the cornerstone of this sonical experience, distant screams in the background, an ongoing chant and horrible noises by an unknown entity make up the surrounding environment of the soundscape. Eventually, this sequence is lead to an end by a growing chant melody that overtakes the rest. When setting this into the sequencing of the entire album, this track does not only work as an isolated interlude, it massively amplifies the staggering atmosphere on all of the other songs.

The oppressive atmosphere on this album does not only derive from the sound alone, though, the lyrics also paint their picture with a strong nihilistic tendency especially when taking a closer look at the first track “Verewigung.” On this track, it seems as if finitude of life is the driving force to adapt to nihilism, for it will always be opposed to nothingness. Throughout the album, though, it feels as if Kluizenaer reflect and wander towards a more existentialist perspective that can be interpreted especially from the opening of the final track “Stylit.” This track begins with the first verses of Paul Celan‘s poem Psalm that glorifies nothingness rather reminding of a perspective that submits to the fate of finitude and absence of any metaphysical presence. It is essential, though, to keep in mind that the intention of the poem itself differs from how it can be interpreted by only regarding the verses that set the beginning of this track. Apart from that, the epic riffing that takes place at about 5 minutes also has the listener wonder if things are about to grow any more positive now. Eventually, when taking a closer look at the lyrics of “Stylit” and the sequence that follows afterwards, it becomes clear that this is only a single beam of light in the suffocating insignificance of mankind.

What I found remarkable was on the one hand the overwhelming impact of Celan’s poem that couldn’t fit the atmosphere of the album any better. On the other hand, though, by choosing Celan as the poet appearing on this album, Kluizenaer also simultaneously adjusted the entire nihilistic environment of their album in a clear political framework. Taking into consideration the biography of Celan as a holocaust survivor as well as his poems such as the Deathfugue (German) as a further and specific example, there is no need to go any futher into detail.

Musically speaking, this year couldn’t start any better with a release like this. Almost everything that can be found on Ein Abbild der Leere is impressingly striking and convinves especially when listening to the album multiple times. If you haven’t known Kluizenaer before, better make a start here and browse through the rest of their discography afterwards.

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