Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Transition Towards Silence

Kriegsmaschine (2014) Enemy of Man. No Solace. 46 min.

How would you measure ruin?
How would you assess fall?
How would you separate sins when all bear the same mark?
When I was advised to give a listen to a band called Kriegsmaschine hailing from Poland there was a certain edge to be overcome, a nagging devil in my head saying 'Dont' waste your time, you'll be just disappointed.' But, still, I decided to oppose the devil and acquired a copy of Enemy of Man.

There's no denying that the devil was playing with a winning hand. Polish black metal have always have a sinister charm of its own, but there's also been a certain shortage of fine Polish black metal since... well, since the 1994 e.h. The glorious year after which a Hitlerian-Lovecraftian apocalypticism was put on the shelf and replaced with a much more family-friendly approach. There was a distinct demand for that, then, if that actually amounted to anything. It didn't, if you ask me. Well, that's not the whole truth, of course, and there's some rather heavy counter-arguments, e.g. Cultes Des Ghoules and MGLA. The last mentioned sharing members with Kriegsmaschine.

That should do for an introduction. Hence, let's bow our heads and follow penitently that faint gleam of bottomless perdition - to ashen havens and to beyond.

Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen? ich heule; aber meine Hilfe ist ferne. Thus opens a slow and anguished descent towards the hell made of pathological and pointless repetition and horrors that lies therein. This hell - our world - in which a genuine metaphysical horizon doesn't exist no more and have been replaced by gross materialism and its even sillier counterpart, that is primitive superstition, doesn't allow for a positive rebellion. It's only the simple-minded and stupid who still entertain illusions of change. Most of them are, of course, nothing but paper tigers living their fantasy lives on the pages of some shitty 'zine. For the rest, for those who are still standing on their feet, such illusions doesn't exist. There's only anguish - and a dire sense of abandonment.

In the Enemy of Man a sense of abandonment seems to haunt every intricate riff, every deliberate rhythm, every harrowing word. It's just there, like a shadow of death which robs even the last bit of joy from life. This sense of abandonment also ties the album to an integrated whole.

As I have already hinted, Enemy of Man is first and foremost an integrated whole. It doesn't have much highlights. Nor does it have any lowlights. But, still, it has a quality of persuasiveness which draws you in and which keeps you in. The music flows forth naturally and with ease, even though this is not 'easy music' in any sense of the term. There's no hurry - and there's no blast beats - which allow compositions to flower into massive sound monuments. Perhaps needless to say, but Enemy of Man is best enjoyed with headphones during twilight hours.

Thus, it seems that the poor ol' devil lost this round. But worry not, he'll get his revenge sooner or later. Should you have your own personal devil in your head, just forget him and his omniscient criticisms. He doesn't know everything - and about modern-day Polish black metal he probably knows nothing at all.

Kriegsmaschine's Facebook page: here.
Kriegsmaschine on Encyclopedia Metallum: here.
No Solace website: here.

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