Riger - Streyf review
|Release date:||April 2009|
02. Ehr im Sieg, Ehr im Fallen
04. Hinter Mauern aus Stein
06. Geliebte Wut
09. Wenn das Licht uns nimmt
10. Zweites Gesicht
In the fall of 1996, a heathen gust of wind grazed in passing an Oder River town located about 50 miles east of Berlin, enticing three of its dwellers into forming a pagan black metal band and bearing the demonic name Riger. Thirteen years later, with four offerings already beneath their belts and a few minor changes in the lineup, Riger released Streyf through Det Germanske Folket.
Arguably the most beautiful branch in the world-tree of metal, pagan metal is more than just getting drunk on mead, caroling olden battles with forbidden instruments, writing about Norse paganism, lovemaking, hunting, dancing to tribal chants amidst campfires and blowing horns in the dark woods of Germania. It's about bringing the Palaeolithic era, 2.6 million years of history from wooden goblets to raging gales, into the 21st century within an hour. Only a handful of pagan bands have succeeded to do thatů And Riger are one of them.
A sealed dusty door bearing one hell of an image: a silhouette of a cloaked demon carrying a rapier and standing in a tall-treed forest with a shadow of a hanged man dangling from an old dead tree on a top of a dark mountain. That's the artwork of Streyf that is reminiscent of a forgotten era with the sealed door symbolizing its evanescence from the tree of time.
Instantly plundering your senses from the moment it charges, Streyf approaches you with a brief acoustic interludes as a soothing "getting-into" before it tumbles into raw black metal with spine-tingling rasps, horrifying screams and hypnotizing growls. A whirlwind of ten thousand sounds galloping over a wide range of tempos takes over with insane solos, melodic chords, heroic guitar outbursts and powerful drumming storming at once. Although, on the first listen, Streyf might seem inaccessible due to occasional loud-distorted riffs (e.g "Ehr im Sieg, Ehr im Fallen"), there are countless reasons that will make up for it; one of which is variety. From the purely acoustic "Geliebte Wut" through the semi-acoustic "Stammesbaum" to the demolishing "Metall", regardless of your musical preferences, you'll enjoy this record. Another reason is that each song has its own scent, its own flavor, its own touch and its own inspiring aura. "Geliebte Wut" paints a melancholic atmosphere with brilliant acoustic ramblings and catapults you straight into a Germanic landscape with water gashing the chasms of a green mountain and the sun bidding its farewell to an epic godly masterpiece. While "Streyf" sculpts a heroic battle between the Romans and various Germanic tribes with an exalted acoustic entrance and the sound of a storm sloshing through the muddy layout of the song before it explodes into a pandemonium of dauntless vocals, folkloric atmosphere, devastating sharp guitar shredding, and insanely fast solos with lofty acoustic sets trudging in the background.
Exactly one hour, three minutes and thirty-five seconds, that's the length of this pagan beast. One hour of pure reverie vacillating between epic pagan and high quality black metal. The production, being quite clear, greatly helps the instruments shine as an impenetrable sense of unity contributes to the overall sound by reining the album's overtones and transporting you into the heart of Germania.
One hour, five musicians, four instruments, 2.6 million-year old history and one hell of an album. Seriously, why are you still reading?
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