Written by: PP on 19/07/2010 17:28:08

Eisregen are a new acquaintance for me, but they've been around for over 15 years now, reaching a cult-like status in the German-speaking metal circles. Or so I'm told at least, and given that Massacre Records was aiming for a top 30 chart entrance for their eighth album "Schlangensonne", it's probably not just a promo-blurb hyperbole to give unnecessary hype for the band. The music, too, has hints of originality and creativity within, to a much larger degree than your typical tremolo-shredding black metal bands from Germany tend to.

The album does open with some tremolo shredding and the unsurprising black metal shrieks, but already during the first song, Eisregen deviate from the black metal formula significantly. The songs morph from blast-beat dominated tremolo shredding into ambient sections, where atmospheric keyboards and classical piano takes the band into a balladic direction, only to jump into symphonic metal territory complete with dramatic keyboard effects and nearly orchestral passages. Clean vocal passages are injected to give variety, and a sharp listener will quickly notice moments of industrial echo and even folk/pagan metal influences thrown in to confuse the listener. So I don't know if 'black metal' is a term encompassing enough to cover everything Eisregen really is, so perhaps here the usually nothing-saying 'dark metal' label would be the most appropriate term to use.

The extent of variety, however, is what makes "Schlangensonne" such an interesting listen. Eisregen clearly isn't afraid to push the envelope and think outside of the box to expand their appeal to outside just a small niché of metal fans. It's sufficiently extreme to appeal to the 'tr00' metalheads, but there are enough keyboard harmonies and melodic guitars to also hook in the non-extreme metal fan, at least occasionally. There's one problem though: despite offering lots of original content, the songs on "Schlangensonne" aren't necessary that superb individually. They're different, sure, but something's missing that'd make me raise this release's rating on par with the likes of Carach Angren and other superb releases even in this year alone.

Download: N8Verzehr, Schlangensonne, Auf Ewig Ostfront
For the fans of: Eisblut, Nachtblut, Dornenreich
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.04.2010
Massacre Records

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