Sunday, 30 June 2013

Krater - Nocebo (2011) | 92%

With Hands Towards Mouth

The most important thing in black metal is the creation of atmospheres. Gritty, dark, mournful or even romantic are all worthy choices and Germany's scene is one of the best at it. The rich cultured country has been producing its fair share of extremely good and diverse acts such as Nagelfar, Desaster or Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. Krater is no exception, their music is extremely well crafted and it's one of the best modern black metal albums I heard. It has the right cohesion between aggressiveness and atmosphere and while it doesn't deviate much from the norm and it's not creating a 666th sub genre, it's pretty damn amazing.

I somewhat had this restraint towards traditional black metal a while ago, I thought the whole schtick wasn't inventive enough and that some innovation should be encouraged. I'll admit it was a foolish way of thinking. Black metal has reached new grounds recently and saying that it's stagnating is simply bad attitude. Plenty of bands are pushing the boundaries without sweetening the genre to death into shoegaze or progressive territories. Pushing towards unorthodox might, rapacious decomposed essays of traditionalism or even punk, hardcore or crust heavens, the scene is nowhere near his final potential and while there's conservatism in the scene, I'm slightly positioning myself in the middle. Numerous reinventions aside, the question is why should it deviate ? Why should it progress towards abandonment of the roots ? I'm all for pure black metal when it's that accomplished. Mediocrity has many shapes and more often than not innovation leads directly to it.

Nocebo, despite its name, didn't harm me at all. Evil and dark without falling into self parody of satanism that I often find lacking in originality. Building their shadowy atmosphere out of misanthropy, hate and everything dark enough to be wrote about ! There's two songs in English but the rest is in German and I must say the Germanic intonations really suits their music in a weirdly martial way. The vocals are pretty memorable and varied, murmured on the fifth untitled track and thoroughly screamed on the others. It's a big part of how good Krater is and the vocal melodies are well articulated and understandable, too bad I don't understand German. It has this sense of mournful melody that the gifted Polish project Mgla has, this same sense of tragedy and majesty that an album like With Hearts Towards None has. The last twelve minutes track Zerrissen really reminds me of that album with these melodic yet cutting like butcher knives leads and these powerful hopeless vocals.

While they have some atmospheric moments such as the intro and the last minutes of the final track, they managed to embody the hatred so well with their riffs alone. Fast paced like on ''Parasit'' or slow and unorthodox. The songwriting, restrained and exploded at the same time is perfect. Rooted in traditionalism, the album is still undeniably modern in its sound and catchiness. I defy all the black metal fans to not get moved by their fast tremolo riffs and the furious, vivid vocals.

A true example of how to write challenging and competent black metal this decade. interesting and grabbing you by the deepest memories of your soul, the crackly hands are gonna open your mouth and justify the foray of molding darkness into your larynx.

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