04 Dec 2021 - Thorsten
Black Metal | Vendetta Records | Release date: 03 Dec 2021
True Hellvetic Black Metal. A new genre and a neologism in one. That’s what ERNTE, a brand new black metal outfit from Switzerland came up with. And if you think the name is silly and thus the band is too, well, you are mistaken! Why? Well, read for yourself!
Formed in 2020 by multi-instrumentalist V. Noir and Witch N., ERNTE is surely a new band to watch from Switzerland’s seemingly endless fountain of black metal bands to watch, however both members are not new to the scene. V. has been on the visual side of things for a long time and N. has been in several bands, with Ashtar being the last project she was involved in (check out our review of Ashtar’s last record here and be pleased to know that the band is still active).
ERNTE (engl. ‘harvest’) has a certain earthy ring to the name in German and if you listen carefully to the soundscape that the duo is evoking one cannot deny a certain earthiness in sound, as if we have a band that knows about the roots of its genre and evolves from there. Did someone mention roots of black metal like in Scandinavia and especially in Norway where Trve Norwegian Black Metal once was the sought-after trademark. Maybe ERNTE’s own label doesn’t sound as silly anymore? They know where they come from and what they want to sound like. That earthy sound can clearly be heard when Witch uses her violin to come up with some sounds that smell like damp soil and living organisms! Of course there are also some classic black-metal moments when the arpeggios are chasing each other in the whirlwind cascades of ”Killing Phantasmagoria”.
The first track is called ”Prozession” (engl. “procession”) and the perfectly fine tuned violin, the glockenspiel and the drums make for a perfect initiation voyage. The listener sets his first steps into the realm of ERNTE and if continuing on this journey, one will come back changed at the other end: this is not a Christian procession as one might imagine, but quite contrarily one of a rite of passage into the world of magic and witchcraft. Because of that the songs guiding us on our passage are not angelic ones but ones of hell and fire.
The way the duo is able to construct its album speaks volumes for their experienced songwriting which is able to include the manic uptempo-bastard that is ”Montane Mystery” and still slow the song down after roughly a minute only to give it some of the classic winding up when the fast beats are stopped abruptly and a short interlude starts while simultaneously the faster beats slowly creep back to the foreground. The fact that Witch also uses her vocals to lead the pace of the songs is not as obvious at first but the way she changes her intonations from moment to moment is truly a first-class performance.
Even though, of course, the term “hellvetic” is ambiguous and hints at hell and helvetic (aka related to Switzerland), one should neither think that these songs are against Switzerland (as if it was “hell”) nor a glorification of it (as if all of these songs talk about singularly Swiss topics). Neither idea is true. Witch N.’s lyrics are personal at its core and only a few of them really talk about Switzerland (e.g. ”Montane Mastery”). But here she is talking about life surrounded by these gigantic mountains.
When the final song, accordingly named ”The Ending Void” sets in after the short interlude ”The Holy Stone Part II” we witness the band’s skill of slowing down the songs into a somewhat doomy modus operandi. Listening to the track, one can see some glorious black hole coming closer and closer to us (or we towards it?) and some pulsating tentacles reaching out to us. And only at that moment do we realize how ERNTE has led its audience to exactly this point of no return. We are facing into the abyss of the black hole, cannot escape and have to accept the bitter truth: One spin of these hellish motifs s not enough. Let’s go for another dive. Another harvest. Another round of True Hellvetic Black Metal.