20 Mar 2017 - Thorsten
Blackened-Folk | Temple Wolf Productions | Release date: 20 Mar 2017
It all starts with field recordings, some acoustic guitar parts, the mouth’s harp, some tambourine parts and then – silence. The silence before the storm. And that storm starts right with track two on Urgeist’s debut album Aus Klammen Tiefen Und Felsigen Furchen (‘From Damp Ravines And Rocky Gorges’).
The album has a very simple, nearly peasant-like quality to it. The sounds of the tambourine which seems to be used often on the album reminds one of the rural regions of the Alps where they celebrate a special kind of carnival, which has nothing to do with being jolly but more with driving away the evil spirits. And thus, this record also feels as if it was recorded inside one of the mountain cabins right above the alpine pasture, in the middle of the night with the strongest winds howling outside and tearing at the old cabin. That storm is the beginning of “Des Wildes Widerspinst” (‘the Wild’s Shrew’) and when the calm settles in after five minutes we hear the owner and keeper of the cabin sitting down next to us and calming us down: He picks up his old, battered guitar and plays only to accompany his own storytelling, while the wind can only be heard far far back beyond the windows. That voice, these vocals – all of them spread a lot of alpine emotions especially when Nachtjeger (aka Urgeist) sometimes shrieks and simultaneously giggles in his rendition. And when he turns to look outside, one can hear the howling again and it the storm seemingly regains strength and tries to get us again while we can hear the church bell toll in a far far away distance.
Urgeist is one of the members of the HUC – Helvetic Underground Committee. That Zurich-based collective focuses on writing, producing and releasing high-quality music that is always rooted in Black-Metal but can feature lots of different approaches. Urgeist is the project within the collective which gathers a lot of the typical folk elements of the region (the mouth harp, certain flutes and fiddles) and uses them to create the atmosphere of the setting above. His lyrics focuses on tales and sagas from his home and the most unique thing – he sings in his own dialect, which is not even the regular Swiss version of high-standard German (and that alone is already often hard to understand!) but the dialect of his region. Being German one can recognize some words by looking at it, for example the intro “Einführung – Tüfels Chilen” has the word “tüfel” in it which must be ‘devil’. There are also (Swiss) German titles like “Berggeflüster” (‘Mountain Whispering’).
This record seems to be more about the setting intended – and indeed also successfully achieved! Urgeist’s debut is really entertaining, maybe not in the long run, but it is certainly entertaining for a longer period of time with all its musical elements and the really enchanting atmosphere. I can already feel the wood of the cabin’s bench beneath me and the cup with hot tea in my hand, and I can see him sit down right in front of me with his guitar. The setting is ready, the audience is ready. For an evening of folk tales and black metal.