Germany has a special place in my cold metallic heart as it comes to unique, strange, and strangely extreme metal bands. Those that disregard guidelines and reject expectations.
And this is paradoxical in a way, because – well – these folks usually and by definition should follow ze rulez, as is their wont. Always. This is Germany after all.
Well, not for all of them, it seems. True, you’ll find excellent metal bands there that do toe that proverbial line. But that excludes this fair chunk of pretty funky renegade outfits there. Those who don’t really give a fuck if the vile mainstream will appreciate their offering – or not.
Like Rammstein with their atrocious oldish German lyrics and that horrible dance metal beat that they like to call Neue Deutsche Härte. But this band commands sizable audiences AND they enjoy an international career to boot. In other words, not caring can appeal to your fanbase. Or, to cite a band nearer to the essence of this blog, we have Totengeflüster that just made it onto the 2019 Top 10.
And then you have the storytellers. Those that weirdly waltz about any and all styles in a sometimes truly bizarre fashion. With structures that somehow don’t seem to fit the mold. Any mold, actually. But that’s the kind of record we usually desperately search for. So far out in space that Houston kinda lost contact eons ago. And they’re not coming back.
The first one we came across was the truly rebellious Antyra – also from Germany – some time ago. Then we found Totenheer, those with a storyline based in true literature. And just this January, the RMR deck crew hit up Porta Nigra with their newest album Schöpfungswut. Which translates into something like the rage or frenzy of creation.
The record – indeed – also tells a story. This time of creative godly (or demonic) entities in all their glory. And the band does that through a funky mix of meaty Black Metal, Post Black Metal, some ambient, and loads of funky lyrics in clear voice.
And don’t even start to look for the usual Black Metal rasp, it just ain’t there. If anything, you get those pretty strange shouted growls if that makes any sense. And those are thrown into a wild mélange of clears and shoutouts from the band throughout the record.
Yet, it’s not all full steam ahead with clear weather on Schöpfungswut. For some reason, Porta Nigra saw fit to often wrap all that noisy metal dissonance around one single riff, repeated ad nauseam. And that – together with that mighty brick wall they built – really is a bummer. It already starts with the first track Die Kosmiker. And you see, the riff is meaty and well-sized, but repeated all over is like having mushroom soup every day. And I hate mushroom soup.
Then, some tracks and parts take a turn towards the tedious. Unser Weg nach Elysium – for instance – lurches about the note sheet with a lyrical delivery that truly hit a wrong nerve. Kind of the sum of all bad qualities this record was able to muster.
On the other hand, Schöpfungswut generally projects a somewhat refreshingly cheeky metal soundscape that irresistibly eggs you on. The band even throws some bewilderingly distorted solos into the fray. This renders tracks like Die Augen des Basilisken with its steamy dissonance a truly rebellious pleasure to behold.
You see, I am not often transfixed by a record. Specifically not one that is so rough around the edges, with so many flappy impurities that kinda float about the soundscape. But it so happened that this background music thing did not work, and I found myself nailed to my chair.
You got those paradoxical albums out there, and Schöpfungswut is surely one of them. Those that blacken themselves to vanta levels and truly gallivant about that Extreme Metal soundscape they darkly occupy. And they do that free from norms and with a taste to experiment. Not something we often encounter in today’s gazillions of metal genres. Yet again, they strangely fit in and will feed them metal neurons in your brain.
And this makes no sense. Yet, even with all those scratches and creaks that are all too apparent, the RMR deck crew still voted in favor of Porta Nigra. Because by Loki and his minions, this is a record that fascinates with its many facets, nooks, and crannies to explore. And all those crusty, dissonant impurities just egg you on, believe it or not. Until – surprise – you just consumed the last note. And you did not even notice that the end was nigh.