Allerseelen - Morgenröte [Retortae - 2021]
Morgenröte is a recent 70 plus minute CD from Austrian project Allerseelen- and it’s very much a blend/ meeting of the present and the past. The first half of the release features ten recent compositions/ re-takes on old tracks, and here we get the projects modern blend ‘n’ blurring of industrial, neo-folk, neo-classical, with other creative genre-blending. And the second half takes in eight tracks from the project’s beginnings- which are very much more focused on the grimly stripped back and crude- with a ritual industrial/ barrenly stabbing synth craft feel.
The release appears on Estonian label Retortae, and as we’ve come to expect with an Allerseelen release, there’s a good use of pictures/ imagery in the release's packaging. The glossy four-panel digipak features on its front cover a wonderful moody close-up picture of a frost edged leaf, and on the back, we have a red-tinged photo of a cross-section of a tree. We have an inlay booklet- but this is fairly slight/ short compared to other releases from the band- with its eight-page taking in lyrics in original German and English.
As mentioned in my introduction the first half of this eighteen track album focuses on the recent version of the band- and the ten tracks were recorded last year. We get a mix of new and re-done old tracks and, as with all of the projects more recent work, theirs is often a pounding ‘n’ rough bass guitar centre to the tracks attack- though this been Allerseelen, there is a blurring and blend of genre elements around this centre which means it has that distinctive (modern) Allerseelen feeling. The CD opens with "Löwin"- this track originally appeared on the bands 2003 album Flamme- they strip out the original tracks industrial neofolk throb, and switch it for bounding and pounding bass guitar, searing strings and repetitive tolling keys, they also speeding up the track slightly adding in whispered/ hissed male vocals. As we go on we come to the tight acoustic strums, tightly wail Volin, rolling bass, and faint tick-tock percussion of "Musa"- which originally appeared on the bands 2001 album Venezia. We have the jerking ‘n’ jiving groove of new track "Tjo Tjo Tjo Di Ri (Aima)"- which blends spiralling/ wiry guitar tones, bouncing string ‘n’ horn waltzes, darting electro tone, and a blend of male and female Germanic vocals. This is followed by another new track "Knistern (Estella)"- which finds the roaming bass guitar mixed with layers of skittering ‘n’ moody beats, wavering female sing-song vocals, and distant darkly regal horn tones. The first half of the CD is finished off with "Dolce Vita (Phobos Reactor Remix)"- this was another track from 2001 Venezia album, and switches the stomping and whistling horn feel of the original into a more brooding and darkly futurists synth-pop bob.Roger Batty
The second half of the CD, and its eight tracks are all taken from the projects very first release Morgenröte- which appeared as a cassette tape on the A.K label. These new versions of the tracks seem somewhat edited in their runtimes, as each full between the two and four-minute mark, whereas ( according to discogs) the original tracks on the tape had runtimes between five and nearing none minutes- not sure why this is?!. And it’s fair to say it’s a very crude, basic, through claustrophobic sound. We move from the snapping ‘n’ reverbing percussion, creepy-yet-wonky organ, and bouncing bass tones of "Auferstehung". Onto the bending pitch piano key doom, meets crashing crow siunds, and low key searing industrial creepiness of "Gold Tausender Morgen". With this part of the CD playing out with jaunting Germanic folk keys meets loose industrial clash ‘n’ scrap of Es Werde Licht (Fiat Luciditas).
It’s always great to get a new Allerseelen release, as they still remain one of the more creative and daring voices in the euro industrial/ neofolk genre. And while there’s not a lot of totally new material on offer here, there are interesting takes on old tracks, and of course, it’s great to have the early Morgenröte material too. The new tracks here certainly show promise/ new nudges to the Allerseelen sound, and I’m most certainly looking forward to an album of purely new material from the project after hearing these tracks. To purchase a copy of the CD direct from the label drop by here