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Krieg - "Transient" (CD)

Krieg - "Transient" CD cover image

"Transient" track listing:

1. Order Of the Solitary Road
2. Circling the Drain
3. Return Fire
4. To Speak With Ghosts
5. Atlas With A Broken Arm
6. Time
7. Winter
8. Walk With Them Unnoticed
9. Ruin Our Lives
10. Home
11. Gospel Hand

Reviewed by on August 15, 2014

"Suffused in an overall old school style, 'Transient' isn't afraid to pop out of that atmosphere from time to time and throw a curveball just to keep the audience on its toes."

Although there were a deluge of split releases, “Transient” is Krieg's first proper full-length in a four year span, and with the band not too far off from its 20th anniversary, Krieg is back for another round of black metal fury tempered by bouts of experimentation. Suffused in an overall old school style, “Transient” isn't afraid to pop out of that atmosphere from time to time and throw a curveball just to keep the audience on its toes.

Starting with “Order Of The Solitary Road,” it's unclear just exactly what sort of album this is going to be, as weird shoegaze style sounds echo out and then a droning drum beat comes in. After two and half minutes of intro material, the proper black metal arrives, although with a stylistic twist that may be unexpected. It's not actually black 'n roll - this isn't Glorior Belli - but it takes the standard black metal formula in a different direction that uses more melody, even when remaining fully entrenched in darkness and blaring out discordant sounds. Furthering the idea of black metal as a disturbing and off-balance experience, much of the sound across the album has a wobbly feel to it, and the first listen through “Order Of The Solitary Road” had me checking to make sure there wasn't a problem with my headphones.

“Circling The Drain,” on the other hand, is more of a traditional experience with the repetitive drum blasts and guitar chords along with hoarse cries. That style stays around for several tracks, and by the time “Atlas And Broken Arm” and “Time” have run their course, the formula has gotten somewhat stale and it sort of just sounds like the same song (although “Time” does have more fury than the surrounding tracks).

The album finally changes up again with the Amebix cover “Winter,” which slides into the psychedelic rock feel on “Walk With Them Unnoticed.” “Ruin Our Lives” likewise has the Nachtmystium crossover black metal feel turned all the way up, and the album departs from black metal completely on “Home.” That particular track consists primarily of sound effects and acoustic strumming, along with a hard boiled voice over that brings to mind Sin City. The album then returns to blasting black metal to finish off with “Gospel Hand.”

If the repetitive nature of standard black metal or the discordant sounds of experimental black metal don't get your engine running, this album is unlikely to change your mind. However, if you are already a Krieg fan, by all means jump on the train and become a “Transient!” There's a lot of track crossed in these eleven songs, from traditional conservative black metal of yore to shoegaze meandering and on to rock/metal hybrid experiments.

Highs: The album tries new things and does the old school black metal style fairly well.

Lows: Several of the tracks are overly repetitive, and the seven minute long shoegaze voiceover track isn't going to go over well with everyone.

Bottom line: "Transient" utilizes traditional old school black metal, introspective voiceovers, and even some psychedelic rock for good measure.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)