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Total Negation – Zeitzeuge

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Last Updated on 07:22 AM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Black Metal
Country: Germany
Label: Temple of Torturous
Year: 2015

Wiedergaenger ‘s Total Negation have been around since 2007, and despite the fact that this year’s “Zeitzeuge” is the band’s third full-length album, I was completely unaware of this project’s existence. To be honest, there are German one-man bands aplenty that play low-tempo atmospheric and suicidal black metal . This one is currently signed in the Swedish Temple of Torturous label (which has released Spectral Lore’s first 2 albums, as well as the exceptionally good “Eldir Nott” by Fyrnask), and according to the promo notes “merge primal black metal, doom and krautrock elements”, a description that is more or less correct about Total Negation’s music.

My first positive reaction arose from the album’s cover art, which, contrary to the previous album dubious visual aesthetics, takes a more traditional yet symbolic path, with exceptional results. Music-wise now, the German’s roots are steeped in the suicidal/depressive soil, culminated in wandering melancholy of almost universally slow tempo. The guitar’s role here is a background-forming one, shaped in a minimalistic form, repeating ascetic riffs (that seem to draw even from classic doom – for instance “Betrachter”’s ending, which is early Sabbath worship), many of which however sound incomplete. There are also several top notch riffs, which are however struggling to rise above the whole. Wiedergaenger’s vocals remain consistent throughout the album, almost too consistent one could argue; they do sound passionate in the beginning, but the refusal of altering their style, even in a small way, makes them flat after a while. Throughout the album one can listen to some more exotic (for the genre) instruments, as vibraphone and melodica, which try to fill up the excessively broad soundscapes of the album. It seems that Wiedergaenger gave much breathing room to his tracks, too much in a number of occasions, a fact which leads to the creation of certain compositional “holes” in his creation; there are times when the production sounds especially thin and spread-out, and vainly does the instrumental experimentation try to fill things up. The composition department is not the album’s grand strength – that would be the creation of minimalistic soundscapes.

The band’s third album is quite uneven. Trying to merge three quite distinct genres (black, doom, krautrock), it succeeds in creating certain kinds of interesting atmosphere, but overally, “Zeitzeuge” has been structured upon a quite ineffective compositional approach, leading to the absence of much memorable material. A shiny exception to this conclusion is “Heimkehrer”, the album’s fifth track, which sees the band speeding up tempo and delimiting its sound space, in a successful way.

3,5/6

Athotep Nyarl
Athotep Nyarl
I Dream of Lars Ulrich Being Thrown Through the Bus Window Instead of My Mystikal Master Kliff Burton

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