Rauhnacht - Urzeitgeist [Hammerheart Records - 2014]Rauhnact (well Stefan Traunmüller to be exact as it is his one man band) returns with Urzeitgeist, their second full length. Traunmüller is no stranger to black metal as he is also a member of Wallachia and Golden Dawn. Rauhnacht, for the uninitiated, titles their music as Alpine black metal; which is a combination of early Norwegian Black Metal and the alpine philosophy, traditions and folklore. All lyrics are in German (Google translator was stumped by most of them).
We’ll focus on the eight songs here (seven if you have the digipak version, eight if you purchased the digital or vinyl), starting with “Einsan Ist’s, Durch’s Moor Zu Geh’n” , a symphonic tornado of raspy vocals, numerous time changes and plentiful riffs. Clean vocals come about half way through and make a nice segue before the next assault. The only down side here are the keyboards, which come across a bit heavy handed, they almost sound as an afterthought rather than being an integral part of the composition. “Urzeitgeist” is really the beginning here, as this song (and the six songs that follow it) truly unites music with Traunmüllers ability to create a fantastical atmosphere of snowy landscapes, strange creatures and wild tales.
From here on until the end it is an abundance of catchy melodies (folk tinged and heavy), stirring vocals (both clean and guttural) and ferocious time changes. “Rauhnachtsking” begins with an epic drums and strumming guitars, heavy and melancholy at the same time. Guitar arpeggio’s and what sounds like an accordion mix lyrically. “Der Weg Zuruck”, “Geisterreiter” and “Ewigkeit” follow suit with powerful sounds of hornet’s nest guitars and tumultuous drumming. “Zeitentor” commences with echoing swirling sound that dives into an eerie, slow paced funeral dirge. Chanting vocals conjure up images of icy mountains, fierce cold and sinister atmospheres. The last song (bonus) is Glemselens elv, a Burzum cover, done quite well and it fits in perfectly with the other songs.
Art work too fits well with the concept. A craggy cave with a pair of sinister eyes aglow against a snow capped background. Artwork, music and concept are all tied neatly together. A striking follow up to Rauhnacht’s debut Vorweltschweigen, Urzeitgeist takes black metal fused with folk influences and comes out victorious.Viktorya Kaufholz