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Club Zentral, Stuttgart, Germany
3rd March 2008
Faun & Dornenreich

DORNENREICH playing as support for FAUN - a strange combination in my opinion, maybe these days not as strange as it would have been a few years ago when DORNENREICH still did some kind of melodic Black Metal. Surprisingly it fit quite well this evening, but as I like DORNENREICH’s stuff very much, for me they were the night’s highlight. The venue was a small club in the middle of Stuttgart, a location belonging to a youth centre; they often do underground concerts and various other entertainment stuff. As we arrived there, quite a little crowd had already gathered in front of the doors and tried to ignore the bad, rainy weather; if one looked at the t-shirts worn by the people there, one could see that many had obviously come to see the Austrian support band. With half an hour delay the doors finally opened, and we had to wait another thirty minutes until Eviga and Inve entered the small stage under the cheers of their fans.


The band DORNENREICH from Austria has been founded in 1995 by Thomas “Valñes” Stock, who has in the meantime left the band. As it often is with good music, it is difficult to tell which genre this band exactly fits in, especially as their sound has undergone some serious changes during the last years. Their demo ‘Mein Flügelschlag’ and the following three albums can be roughly described as melodic Black Metal; but there was already a tendency towards songs that are calmer, with reduced instrumentation.

‘Hexenwind’ from 2005 marked a new chapter in the band history; Valñes had left the band to concentrate on a project named EYAS, and the music had become something new, somewhere in between Black Metal, Ambient and Neo-Folk. In a few days, DORNENREICH are going to release their newest full-length ‘In Luft geritzt’ via Prophecy Productions and will promote it on a small tour together with DEVON GRAVES  and LEAFBLADE in May and September/October. The band now consists of Jochen “Evíga” Stock (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion) and Thomas “Inve” Riesner, who had already played the violin on the 2001 album ‘Her von welken Nächten’ and joined the band in 2006.

How to describe music that you would rather recommend to listen to in a quiet moment? You could mention the obvious things like instrumentation, which is a very uncommon one these days and reduced to the minimum. There is an acoustic guitar playing the basic melody and bringing in some rough and earthy element. The contrast to it is Inve’s violin, creating these fantastic melodies, sometimes very fast and exuberant, sometimes caressing and dreamy. And in between these magical sounds Eviga’s voice, whispering, trembling, full of passion. I am always stunned by how much feelings and different facets he is able to lay into his vocals. DORNENREICH’s songs tell stories, less with words but with the interaction of instruments and vocals, of silence and furore. This night they played some new songs which will be on the ‘In Luft geritzt’ release, but also old stuff like ‘Reime faucht der Märchensarg’ from their ‘Bitter ist’s dem Tod zu dienen’ album from 1999.

Not only their instrumentation but also DORNENREICH’s performance is a much reduced one. You have Eviga sitting in front of the audience with his guitar in hands and some tiny bells around his left ankle, delivering the basic rhythm. And you have Inve with his violin, standing beside him and playing with devotion. One might think this performance may be boring, but the opposite is the case. As the two guys do not jump around or have a bombastic light show or some other gimmicks on stage, one can concentrate fully on their songs, on the feelings they evoke and on Eviga’s diversified facial expressions, ranging from abstraction to plain fury. This night’s visitors seemed to really enjoy this performance, and as the band left stage after ‘Reime faucht der Märchensarg’, they wildly called for an encore, which was granted and again made us look forward to the stuff still to come from this exceptional group.

01. Drang
02. Unruhe
03. Jagd
04. Der Hexe nächtlich' Ritt
05. Meer
06. Freitanz
07. Reime faucht der Märchensarg
08. untitled song

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 6
Total: 8.5


The German band FAUN has been founded in 1999 by Oliver Pade, Birgit Muggenthaler (SCHANDMAUL) and Werner Schwab, but as time passed, it experienced some line-up changes. The constellation of the group has changed just recently, as vocalist Lisa Pawelke left the band to concentrate on her music studies, and the group welcomed Sandra Elflein, who is contributing vocals as well as violin play. Their first output, ‘Zaubersprüche’, appeared in 2002 via the Curzweyhl label, which releases their albums to the present day. It features calm ballads from the Late Middle Ages and Romanticism, and is completely acoustic and recorded without the use of modern instruments. Their latest work is this year's ‘FAUN & The Pagan Folk Festival’ a live album featuring SIEBEN and GOWAN RING.

It was my first time to experience FAUN with their new line-up and especially with Sandra's violin play live on stage, and I was curious whether it would fit in or not. And it did fit in perfectly, and is a real improvement to the band's sound. Though I regret the fact that Lisa Pawelke has left the formation as I really liked her amazing voice, I must say that this recent changes have not had a negative impact on the band's live performance. Sandra Elflein also has a beautiful voice, and the new FAUN play together as if they had done this for a long time already. They sometimes sounded a little insecure, but there was no reason for this, even when Niel Mitra's "medieval laptop" gave out for a while and so the musicians tried an acoustic version of ‘Ne aludj El’, it sounded really fantastic, and was something special and appropriately honoured by the fans. All in all a very nice musical performance; it always is a pleasure to hear all these different, partly very old instruments played so masterfully. 

As always, FAUN had the stage decorated with ivy and everywhere one could see their many different instruments. Unfortunately, but also nothing uncommon, the light show was not the best, most of the time the stage was quite dark, which may have supported the mood of some of the songs but you could not see the musicians properly and were far from being able to take some good pictures. Nevertheless, FAUN are always a great experience playing live, they are seemingly having so much fun when standing in front of their fans and celebrating the songs together. Oliver Pade always fills the breaks between the individual songs with little anecdotes or background stories to the songs, and especially their faster, danceable songs are spreading so much energy on stage that you simply can't elude.

01. Lupercalia
02. Rosmarin
03. Satyros
04. Sieben
05. Sirena
06. Egil Saga
07. 2 Perlen
08. Andro
09. Iyansa
10. Tinta
11. Wind & Geige
12. Ne Aludj El
13. Rad

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 4
Total: 7.5

All pictures by Ruth Gräbeldinger (

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