December 26, 2021 Dornenreich – Du Liebe Sei (Album Review)
In the sprawling pantheon of Heavy Metal diversity, there exists few bands as pronounced in their weirdness as Dornenreich. Since 1996, the Austrian duo of Moritz Neuner and Jochen Stock have pushed the limits of the limitless. On June 11, 2021 they have released their ninth studio album, entitled Du Liebe Sei or “You Wild Love Be” via Prophecy Productions.
Known to bounce between raw and blackened Extreme Metal and an Avant-garde strain of Neoclassical music, Dornenreich meld the two on this latest work, opening up with a bongo-driven number followed by a high-tension, classically driven piece. Whispered German add to the sense of artistic mystery, complete with dramatic off-kilter moments reminiscent of a Science Fiction movie. The overall effect is like combining Folk music with a David Cronenberg film.
The slicker “Die knochern kosen” is paced more like a Rammstein song, but stripped down a bit. Distorted guitars mix with a mournful violin, bongo drums, and spoken word lyrics that occasionally distort into brief screams. The infusion of Metal attitude somehow works within the maelstrom of other genres.
The brooding classical strains of “Sie Machen Mangel zum Geschank” bring to mind some heady tavern-jig, revelers bouncing around to bongos and violin. These bouncy rhythms are underpinned by a beautiful guitar tone, the riff simple yet effective. This is strange music, part modern and part ancient. That in itself is not alien to Heavy Metal music, especially of the more underground variety, but the amalgamation of styles here is so wonderfully done, one could be forgiven for being unable to pinpoint if Dornenreich was not the product of musicians transported to a present-day studio from Baroque times.
On “Das Sehnen von Mond und Sonne” reminds the listener of something Agalloch might have wrought, with guitar somehow echoing a bit of Nirvana’s more introspective moments. Screaming vocals match the longing spirit of the music, at first listen clashing but smoothing out with subsequent aural journeys. Following another romp through the aforementioned styles on “Dem Kuhnen in der Stille,” the album concludes with the introspective “Freiheit Ehrlosen,” a somnolent acoustic strum like a soft landing into effervescent rest.
Quite unlike more well-known acts in today’s Metal scene, Dornenreich dance to the will of their own calling, but their high-browed and unique approach can never be accused of purporting style over substance. Feeling and emotion burst forth on this work, and for that reason Cryptic Rock gives Du Liebe Sei 4 out of 5 stars.