Gernotshagen is a pagan black metal band from Thuringia in Germany. They were formed in 1999 and they released 2 albums since then, “Wintermythen” in 2002 as a self-release and “Märe aus Wäldernen Hallen” in 2007 with their new label Trollzorn (who also re-released their debut in 200. The band was deeply influenced by the Thuringian pagan metal scene and especially by their friends Menhir, offering us melodic epic pagan black metal with folk touches.
When I got “Weltenbrand” at my hands, I expected to listen to something close to their previous great work, with a hidden hope for an even better album. After several spins, I can’t tell if it’s better or worse; I can definitely say it’s a very good work, somehow different though from their previous efforts. They have a more melancholic approach, with less folk influences and an epic Gothic touch. Sometimes their sound reminds me of the first Graveworm works, while there are also some Nightwish (!!) influences, especially in the song “Thursenhain”. Of course the band has its own identity, which is much different than the aforementioned bands. Gernotshagen have improved impressively their production and everything sounds much more solid and professional. The album is loaded with symphonic synths that carry out most melodic lines, while guitars have a more accompanying role, but sometimes they also take the lead. They use again two types of vocals, the typical black / death metal screams and their characteristic clean vocals, both performed by Askan. His clean vocals are fantastic; they sound so epic and powerful… For me they are the highlight of this album, I can’t get enough of them!!! “Weltenbrand” lasts for almost 1 hour, containing 9 compositions, most of them in mid-to-fast tempo, without many changes or surprises (except for the closing track “Die Banner Hoch der Nacht Entgegen” which is a slow “ballad” ). They manage to keep the listener interested though, since they have composed very strong melodies and their sound is very good. All songs are in German and their lyrics can be found in the detailed booklet.
Summing up, “Weltenbrand” is a very good album of melodic epic black metal (less folk and pagan than their previous works in my opinion). They offer a very well composed and performed album, in a somehow overcrowded genre. So, even if they don’t actually offer something fresh or “original”, I recommend this album, because of the amazing clean vocals and the beautiful melodies of the songs. It is released in a great looking digipak by Trollzorn Records and you can check their music on the links below.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos