Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: 11th February 2011
Label: Prophecy Productions
DORNENREICH was founded in 1996 by Thomas Stock, throughout its existence there had been various changes of members so that today the line-up is completely different than at its very beginning, Jochen Stock a.k.a. Eviga (unrelated to the founding member, Thomas who quit in 2006) provides vast majority of orchestration and vocals whilst Thomas Riesner (a.k.a. Inve) plays violin. Their style has been defined as Melodic Black Metal and Ambient Rock. DORNENREICH have already six studio albums to their name, and if this seventh, the shortly to be released album ‘Flammentriebe’, will be the luckiest one - wait and see.
The title of the band is said to mean “Full of thorns” or “Realm of thorns” and the listening experience reflects it - the atmosphere will close on you as a forest in the night, its darkness will thicken so you hold your breath and the prickliness is there to keep you on your toes. ‘Flammentriebe’ is also a perfect blend of the trends that they’ve chosen as the perfect medium to communicate their music with, albeit not leaning as heavily on the melodic side with this album. Some of the songs are closer to Black metal, some to Ambient Rock, mostly they blend in a way where each trend compliments and enriches the other superbly, not to mention the progressive edge also. The last song ‘Erst deine Träne löscht den Brand’ has even Neofolk influences; it’s an intricately beautiful instrumental.
All the other songs are sung in German, the loose translations of song titles gives me a clue to the lyrics that they mostly evolve around the themes of dreams, desire and its sister emotions, which suits the mood of the music perfectly well indeed. Is it strange to say that I enjoy the claustrophobia that the music puts on me with its fullness, intensity, foreboding shrieking vocal, the fast-tempo drumming. Well, in a yet stranger twist, it also feels expansive.... ‘Wolfpuls’ (Wolf pulse) contrasts harsh vocals, tempos that keep changing and surprising, guitars with their different styles constantly and unpredictably changing also - from tremolos to the typical distortion, up to the contrast of classical, gently strummed guitar from which it grows in the beginning and which bursts in and out like sun through throughout, bringing in the melodic tinge, the violin adds yet another layer to this.
Where the instruments create the stimulating changes there, in ‘Fährte der Nacht’ (loosely translated as ‘Track of the Night’) it’s the singing itself, whispering, shrieking, singing, the frantic, concentrated angst of the song further underlined by just perfect emphasising intensifying the narrative as well as the mood of the song. Each and every song offers something to marvel over... I have already mentioned the last song, but ending this album without words is a great touch. There is more to this album as it does more than just invokes moods and atmosphere, there’s palpable sense of direction, enough space given to the listener to be engaged on more levels than having one’s emotions stirred about from here to there. With each listen, I become more and more impressed; DORNENREICH’s ‘Flammentriebe’ is an album to get immersed in and to return to.
01. Flammenmensch – 4.57
02. Der wunde Trieb – 5.05
03. Tief im Land – 5.02
04. Wolfpuls – 7.22
05. Wandel geschehe – 6.23
06. Fährte der Nacht – 4.50
07. In allem Weben – 5.17
08. Erst deine Träne löscht den Brand – 7.55
Jochen Stock (a.k.a. Eviga) – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Thomas Riesner (a.k.a. Inve) – Violin
Total: 9.5 / 10