Genre: Black Metal Melodic Black Metal
Label: Kristallblut Records Obscure Abhorrence Productions
Schattenvald is an old German black metal band from Bavaria, formed back in 1998 as the personal project of Nachtsturm, who also plays bass on Cryptic Wintermoon. After 3 demos, “Winterland” and “Nachtvolk” in 2002 and “Dämmertage” in 2004, Schattenvald released their debut full-length album “I” in 2007. Few months later their second album “II” was out, in 2007 again. Next year they released their third work “III“. These 3 albums were self-released and limited to 100 copies, so they actually never got any serious distribution. Finally on August 2013 all 3 of them were re-released in deluxe digipak editions with new artwork by the German labels Kristallblut Records and Obscure Abhorrence Productions.
Except for the fact that these 3 albums were re-released at the same time, the basic reason I review all of them together is that they were also initially released in a short period of time and they were all recorded in Totenklangkammern in Münchberg. So, there are actually not many differences between them, both in terms of sound and in music style, which is described as Franconian black metal. Nachtsturm composed, played and sang everything in these albums. “I” has 6 songs and 43 minutes of music, “II” includes 5 songs lasting for 39 minutes and “III” has 6 songs with a total duration of 41 minutes. Schattenvald’s music is extreme, yet melodic black metal, with a raw underground sound. Guitars is the lead melodic instrument, with a very rich and personal sound. There are countless brilliant riffs in these songs and especially the most melodic parts are wonderful. Their over-distorted guitars and the “echo” in their sound give often an almost symphonic touch to their orchestrations! Τhere are not many synths in the lead melodies, since they prefer to use them as an accompanying instrument, mostly in the background. Vocals are as expected brutal black metal screams, exactly as they should be, while their compositions have also many instrumental parts. They move in fast bombastic tempo most of the time and their changes from pure rhythmic black metal to melodic black metal, is what keeps all songs very interesting. There are some “problems” in the sound, but the overall atmosphere and aesthetic of their music allows them. Their poetic lyrics are in German, dealing with epic and nature-related themes, but they are not included the digipaks.
It was a pity that these great works were kept secret all this time. Luckily, fans of epic melodic underground raw black metal have a second chance to discover this band. “I“, “II” and “III” are released in 6-panel digipak editions, each limited to 500 copies via Kristallblut Records and Obscure Abhorrence Productions. Schattenvald are about to release their next full-length album, entitled “IV” via the same labels again, having a second member this time, Iskharian who will take over the vocals…