Allerseelen - Dunkelgraue Lieder [Indiestate Distribution - 2017]From early summer 2017 Dunkelgraue Lieder is an extremely re-worked & expanded version of Allerseelenís 1990ís album Sturmlieder. The release shows the Austrian Industrial/Neo-folk innovators bridging the gap between the past, present & future sound of Allerseelen.
The Sturmlieder album originally appeared back in 1996- first as a CD, then in 2004 as a double vinyl reissue with nine extra tracks. And I always found the original CD one of the lesser & more distinctive releases of their back catalogue. The original albums ten tracks where mostly rather one dimensional blends of Goth focused rock guitar, wondering drab bass lines, cold mechanical beats, dark & looped sampled string textures, black synth loops, and stern male Germanic vocals. With a few of the tracks darting into darkly stripped pop electroncia, and more dramatic /stern cinematic atmospherics. The extra tracks on the 2004 reissue made the album a little more interesting & appealing, but ultimately the base/ original tracks just lacked the creativity, layers & detailed sound that the best Allerseelen album offer.
Dunkelgraue Lieder is track listing falls into three categories: drastically altered Sturmlieder tracks, new remastered & re-edited Sturmlieder tracks, and a selection of newer tracks. The drastically altered & new tracks are the most interesting here- with altered tracks the layers & the make-up of the originals are almost rebuilt- bringing in much more detail, focus & depth to all of the tracks. With the addition of that trademark tightly-cut & crafted Allerseelen production, that effortless balances together organic sampled elements with subtle electronic elements & textures. For example the track "Dunkelgraue Stille" is taken from itís rather dour, muddled & awkward original blend of wispered Germanic vocals, bland meant be ominous John Carpenter like synth stabs, and guitar twangs- and gets added in a galloping blend of cutting string slices & brooding piano hits. Along with moody layers of guitar noise atmosphere, and a detailed electro beat elements- all to make it a wonderful urgent & edgy radical re-working
The new tracks nicely fit in with the dense & layered feel of the re-imagined Sturmlieder tracks, so for a large part of itís near 80 minute run-time this does feel like a proper album instead of just a collection of tracks, or a compilation.
Of course the last category of tracks is the re-edited & remastered original albums tracks- these are well done, and the flow & feel of the tracks is much improved from that of the original 1996 release. Though I still canít say that I enjoy them that much- preferring much more the dramatically altered version better.
Dunkelgraue Lieder is another rather curious addition to Allerseelenís discography- having an almost Frankenstein like monster feel to itís make-up & presentation. Itís certainly an interesting experiment, though not wholly successful, in my option. One for more seasoned fans of the project Iíd say.Roger Batty