Saturday, January 7, 2012

Blutklinge - Call of the Blackened Woods [EP]

Unfortunately Blutklinge ceased to exist when their vocalist committed suicide. Even though that happened after I discovered them, they have come to be one of the biggest sources of influence and inspiration for my music. Until about three months ago, I had no idea that they had a full-length album; I thought they just had this EP and a couple of demos (all of which I have acquired). All of the songs and lyrics were written by the vocalist, who is known only as “S”. If you want to look into the mind of a truly depressed person with mixed emotions about pretty much everything, this is an album that you should listen to because it’s very powerful. And on top of that, even though the lyrics are very depressing and powerful, the music is very moving as well.

The overall sound of the album is that of your typical ambient black record. Extremely poor sound quality, little-to-no production work/mixing, atmospheric, slightly out of tune guitars, songs that usually last more than six minutes, and containing an emotional and depressive sound. One of the unique things about this record is that it’s definitely one of the more melodic ambient black records out there. I can’t say that it’s one of the MOST melodic ambient black albums because there’s so much from the genre that I haven’t heard; but it’s certainly one of the most melodic out of the ambient black albums in my library.

I absolutely love the sound of the lead vocalist. He has that really rough gravely sound that doesn’t have that high-pitched tone, but it doesn’t sound like he’s choking on a duck. The extremely fuzzy guitar distortion isn’t the type that is unpleasant to the ears; in fact, it’s the opposite. Some of the drumming that is done during some parts of the song is a bit unnecessary, mainly with the overuse of the symbols.

The first song off of the EP is my favorite; I sometimes end up not getting through the album because I get stuck on this one song. The vocals are crisp; there is an excellent mix of depressive highly-distorted parts and soft semi-acoustic parts. The lead guitar line does get a bit repetitive during the second half of the song that starts after the raining sounds. Adversary is one of those songs that really touches me and makes me feel a sense of connection, being someone that has been living with depression my whole life; so this song is very powerful for me and is something I always go back and listen to. Although it’s obvious that the two members spend a great deal of time writing and practicing this song, there doesn’t seem to be much structure within the song; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the song is completely unpredictable unless you’ve listened to it hundreds of times like I have.

Probably my least favorite thing about this EP is the opening scream in the title song. It’s obviously not the lead vocalist making that horrible cry, but it still sounds extremely unattractive (which was probably their intent). This is the most melodic song on the record, having some keyboard-simulated choir voices giving the song an extremely beautiful atmosphere and ambience. The drumming in this song isn’t really that good; but other than those two downers, this song is amazing.

The third track is an instrumental that has a complete absence of drums and distorted guitars. When I say that this album has a lot of ambience and emotion, this is the song that best describes the melodic, soft, delicate, and beautiful side of that. The acoustic and soft electric guitars are the instruments that back up the slightly repetitive melodic keyboard riff that still sounds pretty even though it doesn’t really change at all throughout the song; but that’s where tolerance and patience comes in.

The final track on this EP has a strong traditional black metal vibe with some obvious old-school Darkthrone influence. This shows that the band has at least some diversity in music styles that they can play as well as having outside inspiration from bands that don’t fit in the exact genre that they do. After about three or so minutes of this classic Darkthrone sound, the music fades into the sounds of rainfall and wolves howling which then transitions back to the signature Blutklinge sound.

Overall, this is one of my favorite EPs. This band has influenced the music I write ever since I started three years ago. So for those of you that like the melodic side of black metal, this is definitely a four-song piece you should look up. There isn’t anything else quite like it and gets my score of 15/20.