A very interesting debut album comes from the German symphonic black metal act Totengeflüster from the Swabian Alps. Totleben, who is their composer, guitarist, bassist and orchestrator, started the band in 2007, when he wrote his first songs. Together with Narbengrund, who is responsible for the lyrics and vocals, they are the 2 founding and permanent members of the band. With the addition of Schattendorn in drums, Totengeflüster self-released their debut full-length album “Vom Seelensterben” on 1st of February 2013.
Their music can be described as symphonic black metal, but they are not one of the typical examples of the genre. Guitars and vocals dominate their sound, being much “louder” that everything else in the mix. Of course symphonic and classical synths are everywhere in the songs, with really beautiful and dark melodies, but it’s the raw sound of the guitars and the fierce extreme screaming vocals that give the band its characteristic sound. “Vom Seelensterben” has a dark, sorrowful, haunting atmosphere and Narbengrund’s various vocal styles, both brutal and theatrical at the same time, fit perfectly with their music’s concept. Their production is also far from the usual polished mainstream approaches, so common in the symphonic genre. On the contrary, they have a primal, raw sound and at times, when orchestrations are overloaded, their music becomes so “dirty” and “compressed” that I fear my speakers will explode! Their 10 compositions last for over 46 minutes and most of the time they move in very fast tempo, while some beautiful atmospheric instrumental passages give your ears a chance to rest. All lyrics are in their native language, German and you can find them in the CD booklet.
“Vom Seelensterben” is a very good work, but due to its different sound, it needs more time before you can discover the beauty behind this album at its entirety. Totengeflüster is a band that I totally recommend to fans of symphonic black metal, since the quality of their music is amazing, but most importantly they managed so early to form a very personal sound! It is my opinion though, that a slightly cleaner sound would favor their music even more. Their debut is released in two very limited formats. It comes in a limited to 150 hand-numbered copies 6-panel digipak edition with 20-page booklet and in a limited to 25 hand-signed copies art-book collectors edition (30cm X 30cm). All the amazing artwork and layout is by the band’s mastermind Totleben, who proves to be multi-talented! I suggest you visit soon their official pages below and listen to their music, since both CD editions are very limited.