Review by Jason Guest
Release date: 12 March 2013
Consisting of two conceptually-linked EPs, Total Negation brings black metal together with Krautrock and utilises unconventional instruments such as vibraphone and melodica for its compelling aesthetic. With Zur späten Stunde (tracks 1 to 4) exploring the “nightly trip of a resting mind” and those “transcendental moments and the delirious state of mind right before drifting off to sleep”, Zeiträume explores the visions in our dreams and how they blur with reality. Both intriguing and challenging concepts, main-man Wiedergänger’s ambitious approach echoes that of the 60s and 70s Krautrock, his execution being every bit as grand.
The dense layers of Zur späten Stunde’s amass across its slow, heaving tempos as morbid melodies arise, overlap and intertwine in the desolate miasma. Whilst the drums pound their deathly pulse and the anguish of the melodies bleed into the despondent soil, cold arpeggios clash with unnerving shrieks and trem-picked riffs as the sullen and morose atmospheres intensify. Where the first three tracks employ the icy vistas of black metal and the dragging tempos of doom for their disaffection, the ambient instrumental ‘Freilauf’ stands out as a high point of the first EP, eschewing guitars completely in favour of its synthesised textures and ominous tones. From Zeiträume, both ‘Geist’ and ‘Zeit’ are incredible tracks, both almost avant-garde in their juxtaposition of crazed vocals, leaden riffs, chiming melodies and eccentric rhythms. Awash in black trem-picked riffs and thundering pedal-tone bass-lines, and atmospheric, almost euphoric feel of the latter is remarkable. With ‘Raum’ and ‘Traum’ to wrap up the EP and the album, Wiedergänger pushes the bounds of his own musicianship and of music just that bit further.
Though intended as two EPs, this works incredibly well as an album. Evocative and chilling, shrouded in dejection and dissonance, aggression blended with futility and sheer abhorrence, the bleak hollows and serrated edges of this collection are of such melancholic beauty that its experience is curiously cathartic. Darkly stirring and thought provoking, this is well worth your indulgence.
8 out of 10