Zeit – Drangsal (2019) – Review

RockmsusicRaider - Zeit - Drangsal - Album Cover

I just listened to Zeit‘s last album Konvergenz all over again. And you know what? They are pretty much what you could wish for from an Extreme Metal record.

If only the band would not dream the dream of the underground too much. So much so that they are barely visible to the mean crowd on the surface, very much like Allone that the RMR deck crew took a liking to.

And yes, I heard all of the ideologically charged bullshit about culture and the vile capitalist dough before, trust me. Now, there appears to be some light in their communication strategy, as they consistently employ the services of a PR agency. And are grouchily present on YouTube as well.

So, here we saddled ourselves with Zeit again, with yet another of them pitch-black albums with limited social interactions. But their latest record left us wanting much moar, kind of against our instincts.

Which made the RMR deck crew listen to their newest concoction Drangsal (tribulation, suffering, hardship in good ‘ol English). And they waste no time hitting us with their best as of the first second. No atmospheric gloominess, just wang – and off they go.

Schweigen (silence) with its blackened Death Metal flavor made me pause. More electronics than should be allowed on Extreme Metal, like a mad disc jockey on drugs. And a mightily heavy beat smothered in all those accouterments their trade is made of. That’s a new one, and a welcome change to boot. Thormesis could not have done better.

Not that they cannot get back to their old Black Metal rasps. There are some attempts in Stirn for example that kinda hold their water with a strong scent of late Geisterfels.

The real hefty shift only happens when Menschmaschine (human machine) hits you over the head like a sledgehammer. In truth, it is one of those split-personality tracks, where the crew alternates the tone of voice for special effects. It’s got these confusing excursions into some sort of a Latino metal terrain, complete with thrash bursts and such.

By and large, Drangsal does come across as rockier and more varied than the aforementioned Konvergenz ever aspired to. However, these jaunts to other lands of much metal really feel mightily disjointed and often don’t add any tangible value. And we bemoan this bizarre inclusion of non-native rhythms that really travel on the road to nowhere. 

Yet again, you can’t deny the allure of the heavy, yet speedy beat a Granne delivers to your boombox, for instance. This one packs almost an atomic load of meaty punch, a truckload of fucking oomph that really knocked my hair back some and rumbled across my insides. It’s one of those holy-metal-cow moments. Only that the cow had it coming and now turns on a spit in hell.

But nothing prepares you for the tsunami of sludge on 357. A downturned, Sabbath-esque battle beast that really got on my good side. If Black Sabbath were ever growling, which they ain’t. A truly heavy metal sound that knocks you into the dust and tramples all over you.

So in other words, Drangsal really stepped on the gas for the last two tracks or so. After a mediocre, yet strangely powerful Babylon that almost made me switch off our mighty sound machine.

And I am glad I didn’t.

Also, Zeit did change tack. From a pretty typical, yet high-quality Black Metal offering with a doom component to something much more elaborate. More sludge than ever, trials of other flavors not native to Black Metal, but all almost religiously embedded in pretty impressive tremolo-picking fests.

So, in the end, Drangsal delivers another tasty morsel of Extreme Metal to the unholy ears of their fan crowd. A friggin’ kick to the gut of some 42 minutes of a brutal and biting metal assault. And exactly what the good doctor ordered.

It is a mightily complex piece that wafts up through the entrances of the underground. A record that will need some time to mature over a number of listens. But it is worth the effort, I guarantee you that.

It would behoove Zeit to step out into the light a bit better and gather some fans. With this varied, harsh but pretty deliciously delirious brand of darkened everything, they could probably make a difference with many a non-metal adept. But – hey – it is their choice if they want to continue to cling to the smelly underbelly of the mighty metal beast. Or if they want to climb its scales upwards, towards its back, and give Extreme Metal another meaning.

Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook
Release date: 30 August 2019

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