If you ever wondered what hell with its tortuous landscape and ravenous touch was going to be like then Der Ungeist (meaning The Demon), the new album from Israeli project Geist, might be one of the most representative and closest windows to its soul. The release is a destructive violation of pure black metal, a record which shows no mercy or restraint in the corruption of light and hope. It envelopes the madness of man and its existence to expel it back in a vitriolic sonic embrace which is as corrosive and debilitating as any acid rain tempest. It is also thoroughly compelling and once into its insidious depths becomes almost mesmeric, though whether that is down to the wearing down of defences and sanity or its undoubtedly skilled content still leaves one unsure.
Geist is the solo project of Ratimus (Bartholomeus Night and Mocous Scrotum), and Der Ungeist his debut album. The release is influenced by early black metal and within its seven venomous engagements is open with these inspirations and seeds. The artist has created an organic album dealing with the aforementioned bedlamic and insane breath of man by recording the songs live and leaving them as they were borne, their honest lo-fi intent a scurrilous abrasion to texturize further the twisted and tortuous heart and layers of the release. It is not an easy listen and for some will not hold the rewards which others will reap within its dirty mechanical sounds but if extreme metal and especially core black metal is the devastation you seek, then the album is a must investigation.
Released through Israeli-based Totalrust Music, the album immediately wreaks havoc upon the senses with opener Mord, its initial atmospheric presence no indication of the intrusive engagement to follow. The track soon tells you all you need to know about Der Ungeist though, the sonic scarring from the invidious guitar embrace and ear splitting rhythms unrelenting for the main. When the track does step back the vocals just find a stronger poison to splash across the alluring guitar ‘caresses’. At times the word raw does not do the piece, or album to be honest, justice but within the spiteful assault there is a contagious ‘groove’ which is firmly persuasive whilst the evolving journey of the song and its perpetually challenging expanse is verging on riveting.
Von Blut and Der Wald both continue the ruinous confrontation, the torturous and desperate vocal squalls acid within the emerging blistered melodic enterprise and addictive grooves, especially in the first of the pair. It is a weirdly infectious proposition beneath the annihilatory surface which again ensures a compulsion to let it and the album do their worst. The second of the two is a slow crawling death lined slab of sonic toxin, an erosive brutality reeking of passion and distress, and again near on irresistible. Both songs outshine the opener and further in to the album you go the stronger it gets. It is still an unforgiving rage and a deeply uncomfortable listen but it leaves one enthralled nonetheless.
The best track is Northern Pride, a synapse scorching malefaction which sizzles with imagination and ever twisting invention within the again sonic attrition. By its end you release just how painful it has been, ears and senses ringing, but it also transfixes those same victims with a spiteful and pleasing imagination and accomplished craft.
Maybe some post production on the album would have brought out the certain craft and creativity within the storm better but you can only appreciate and understand the intent of artist and album whilst in its unhinged company. The album is a good release for any extreme metal fan to take a punt on though the reason why you find yourself engaged with it will not necessarily be from the way you expected before going into its hellish heart.
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