Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review: Hanzel Und Gretyl – 'Black Forest Metal'

'Black Forest Metal'

Everyone's favourite pseudo-Teutonic industrial metal duo Hanzel Und Gretyl are back with a much darker and heavier outing than usual. Continuing on with the black and death metal themes that were incorporated into their 2008 outing 'Zwanzig Zwölf' and their last full-length album 'Born To Be Heiled' in 2012, 'Black Forest Metal' sees the tongue-in-cheek themes and industrial elements take a back seat to relentless riffs and a more Satanic theme running throughout.

The opening track 'Hoia Baciu' is perhaps the most over-the-top track on the album with it's infernal incantation setting up the album, but after this we see a more focussed attack. Songs such as 'Black Forest Metal', 'Blood Of My Horns', 'Hexencraft', 'Mavro Metalliko', 'Pentegram Sky', and 'Grimm Job' owe more to Satyricon than Rammstein with their leaner blackened metal sound.

There are still the odd tongue in cheek moments, such as on the more typically titled 'More Metal Than The Devil', 'Evil As Fukk', 'Burning Witches For Satan', and 'Big Bad Kyzrwolf' (which features a fun sample from 'Peter And The Wolf'). But even these are played quite straight, and are therefore just as enjoyable as the other tracks on the album.

In terms of production the album does drop some of the more familiar industrial metal veneer of previous albums in favour of a more black metal construction that recalls the likes of Satyricon's 'Rebel Extraveganza' and Mayhem's 'Chimera' in particular.

'Black Forest Metal' is an interesting but not wholly unexpected progression for the band. They have been increasingly opting for more guitars and heavier production with every new release. Each time it has worked well, and once again this is the case. It's a shame that the electronics are taking up a smaller roll these days, but if that means there is another opportunity for Kaizer von Loopy to unleash his remixing skills on the album, as he did on 'Hanzel und Gretyl Für Immer', in the near future then we are sure to get the best of both worlds.  

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