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Nargaroth - "Jahreszeiten" (CD)

Nargaroth - "Jahreszeiten" CD cover image

"Jahreszeiten" track listing:

1. Prolog (3:01)
2. Frühling (10:32)
3. Sommer (13:50)
4. Herbst (21:58)
5. Winter (16:41)

Reviewed by on October 15, 2010

"My favorite thing about this album is that Nargaroth manages to transcend, in the sound at least, most black metal ideology and focuses on the album’s progression from light to dark moods, similar to how the seasons pass."

Nargaroth seems to be somewhat infamous in the black metal scene. With the infamous “Black Metal Ist Krieg” and Kanwulf telling other bands to fuck off, “Jahreszeiten” seems to be a rather mature effort on the band’s part. With a legacy of hateful and misanthropic black metal behind them, this album definitely is a departure from their typical fare. But don’t get me wrong, there is definitely some frostbitten metal to be had here. “Jahreszeiten” is the German word for “seasons”; Nargaroth uses this base to explore different soundscapes throughout the album.

After a spoken word intro, the album kicks off with “Frühling,” which is German for “spring.” This is where Nargaroth departs not only from their own typical style, but from virtually any black metal style I’ve ever heard. One would need to hear the song to understand, but “Frühling” is probably the happiest black metal song I’ve ever heard. With a tone lighter than even the least grim of black metal bands, Nargaroth has managed to capture a strange, “spring” sort of sound with this track. The best part, though, is that it doesn’t come across as cheesy or contrived at all. “Frühling” is still a great black metal track; it gets a bit more of a serious sound near the end with very epic riffage, but still has a much lighter sound than any black metal track I’ve heard. The track is a bit repetitive, but effective overall.

The album moves on to “Sommer,” which switches up the sound more and adds some great arpeggios at the beginning. “Herbst,” which means “fall” or “autumn,” is the longest track on the album (possibly because autumn seems to be the longest season of the year?) and is somewhat exhausting to listen to. At just over twenty minutes, mostly instrumental, the track definitely could have been split up into separate tracks, but Nargaroth manages to span some different moods throughout. The beginning is quite mournful and depressing, but picks up later for a more triumphant feel.

“Winter” is the darkest track on the album and is most akin to frosty black metal as we know it. With constant blast beats and sinister riffage, this track is pretty representative of most black metal. “Winter” also features a great solo in the middle that really takes the track up a notch.

My favorite thing about this album is that Nargaroth manages to transcend, in the sound at least, most black metal ideology and focuses on the album’s progression from light to dark moods, similar to how the seasons pass. The different emotions found on this album are fairly expansive. “Jahreszeiten” is somewhat of a repetitive album, but I feel its repetitiveness is somewhat in the vein of Burzum: they play riffs over and over again, yet manages to create somewhat of a mesmerizing atmosphere. This album definitely isn’t for every metal fan, but fans of Nargaroth will appreciate it, even if “Frühling” takes some getting used to.

Highs: Black metal that spans different emotions and moods.

Lows: Very long, "Frühling" is a very unusual song.

Bottom line: Nargaroth suprisingly doesn't restrict themselves to typical black metal conventions on this album and manages to bring some refreshing creativity to the genre.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)