02 Apr 2022 - Thorsten
Atmospheric Black Metal | Vendetta Records | Release date: 01 Apr 2022 | Favorite song: Rats Gorged The Moon ... And All Fell Silent
Ultha, one of Germany’s most important black metal bands, released their new album All That Has Never Been True on this April 1st. No, this record is not in any way an April Fool’s prank. If you know the guys behind it, you know how important their music is to them. The new record is no exception to that as it finishes a not-preconceived trilogy and shows exactly why every black metal fan should love this band!
A trilogy that started with Converging Sins finds it grand finale with seven songs that showcase the songwriting abilities of the band in a condensed way even though there are still four tracks on the record that exceed the 10-minute-mark; nevertheless that is pretty short compared to the two tracks on the Belong - EP.
The record opens with the very slow, near organ-like synth spheres by Andy Rosczyk whose electronics very often lay the foundations for Ultha’s signature sound – warm and embracing but never too happy. Just like the supportive pat on the back by an old friend. That sound is also one of the reasons, why this band keeps on drawing support from all other the world, even during the pandemic. Other prime examples for Andy’s work are his emulation of a clarinet at the end of the second track ”Der Alte Feind (Jeder Tag Reißt Wunden)”, are the near world-music like intro of ”Bathed in Lightning, Bathed in Heat” where it seems as if he underlines a small minute guitar line and supports it so much that is has a near-chant-like quality.
That Ralph’s guitar work is extraordinary once again, must not be mentioned, but definitely should. He was able to come up with riffs and song structures that showcase that this is much, much more than your average black metal band as there are so many highly atmospheric elements and the songs take as much time as they need – even though there seems not one second too much on the album. The balancing between atmospheric elements shining through like little diamonds in the sand and claustrophobic catastrophes in the form of thunderous riff-whirlwinds accompanied by densest blastbeats. It seems like some of the songs go through the hurricanes on the Gulf coast of Mexico and after a the thunder and rain are gone one can see these amazing glass-elements in the sand, where the lightning struck.
Thematically the record spins around the idea that everything must come to an end, that for every sin we have committed something has to give. A very dark and difficult topic. But whenever one listens to an Ultha-record it is clear that there are always those little rays of hope breaking through the glass window of a dark, cold, Romanesque church at night. Basically everything will come to an end, but the way there need not lead us through the valley of despair for there are people who feel the same and who keep us company. The record ends with the lines ”What’s lost in the fire I will find in the ashes / of who I used to be, for now I am settled in a world / where it’s always dead with darkness / and alive with light.” These lines show us what drives Ralph in his songwriting. Even though he might be alone and although he is dealing with his inner demons, giving in is not an option. No retreat, no surrender.
If you only want to listen to one atmospheric black metal album in 2022 – then listen to this one. It’s full of honesty, of interesting ideas and of light within darkness.
(And if you want to find out more about the record, check back tomorrow, when we will have a 90-minute (!) interview with Ralph about the record and what drives him!)