Menhir - Die Ewigen Steine review
|Album:||Die Ewigen Steine|
|Release date:||June 1997|
03. Die Auserwaehlten
04. Warriors Of The North
07. Tag Der Vergeltung
Die Ewigen Steine is the first full-length album from the pioneers of German pagan metal, Menhir. It follows the release of Buchonia, their first EP earlier the same year. The record features 8 songs, clocking in at about 40 minutes. It is a solid pagan metal album, and a huge contrast to their EP Buchonia.
First of all, Die Ewigen Steine means "The Eternal Rock" in German, and as you might have guessed, all the lyrics are sung in German. It is clear that Menhir has changed it's style radically from their first release, introducing harsh vocals and aggressive riffs to their songs. The main concept, however, remains the same : epic pagan metal with a lot of atmosphere. And Die Ewigen Steine clearly shows a lot of epic atmosphere.
The songs on this album are very melodic and rely heavily on keyboards to deliver the pagan feeling. Yes, what puts this album above the average is the pagan atmosphere. The synths dominate the record, leaving only a small place for the other instruments. For example, the bass is very faint or cannot be heard at all. The lead guitar, on the other hand, is very present, paving the way for the epic choruses. It is the trademark of Menhir's unique style as it rapidly switches between low-pitched melodies to very high-pitched ones and back.
Technically speaking, most of the instruments on this record are well played. Some of the lead guitar parts, however, aren't that well executed, and one can even hear a couple of mistakes here and there. Then again, they do manage to pass on the feeling, and lift the songs to epic heights. The rhythm guitars deliver some very good riffs, which is a sign of musical maturity. At points the riffs even become a little "trollish", but most of the time remain very atmospheric. The drums on Die Ewigen Steine are very well played, especially the double bass.
Two songs deserve special mention on this album. The first one is "Winter", which has become one of Menhir's classics. It is a very melodic song, and one which contains a lot of the band's trademark style : change between low- and high-pitched leads, a great deal of keyboards, notes played in staccato and a fast tapping solo. The second song is "Schwertzeit", which confirms itself with it's solid riffing, very harsh vocals and a lot of Menhir style as stated above.
I would recommend this album to anyone who is interested in pagan metal. It is one of the few albums that began the pagan metal scene in Germany, and with good reason : Die Ewigen Steine stands out from the rest in the category by it's unique style and very atmospheric songs. It is sad that such a band as Menhir is still relatively unknown in the metal scene, and I hope one day a lot more people will get to know this band and discover this unique gem of pagan metal.
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