Genre: Black Metal
Reviewed by: Binay Raj (schuldiner)
Donnergroll is a German black metal band. And this album, Das Donnerduett, is a tribute by the drummer, Gram, to Myrkvid, the former guitarist. But this album that is being reviewed does not have the conventional black metal feel, but then again, black metal is not something conventional.
This album starts off with a very different musical feel. Being honest, I was ‘wtf?’ the first time I gave this album the first run. The album is based partially on the ambience, raspy vocals and low-end recording that are characteristic of black metal, while the guitar riffs are fast paced and sound very much thrash-like, even going as far as using harmonics, which IMO are quite unheard of, in this genre. The drumming is quite mediocre in terms of speed and technicality but the drummer, Gram, has been very successful in pulling off some astonishingly suited beats to accompany the guitars. But no, this does not mean that the album is sort of an Old School black metal album, if, by the mentioning of Black/Thrash metal, arouses that feeling in you. The lyrics are draped in elements of death, drugs and ahem Satanism. And, there are no bass lines for the album.
The first song, Ouverture Infernale, starts off with a clean electric guitar intro and the song progresses into an interesting instrumental piece. The intro is fairly simple. The second song, Macht der Gewonheit, follows with a subtle intro, and the song instantly runs off the road. The high and screaming vocals are accompanied by a well guitaring. But this is the part in which this band will surprise the listener because, the song will transform into something almost out of the genre. The songs are short and sweet. The third song, Involved, sets the groove with an aggressive guitar and double bass beats. It is laden with unique guitar riffs and the melodious phrases here and there make it very interesting and attention grabbing. The harmony of the two instruments is supreme and in fact very enjoyable. The fourth song, Abysical Remains, starts with a soft intro of electric guitars, but what you will notice instantly is the way the vocals stand out unlike how, the vocals are very suppressed in the previous songs. This is partly because from this point on, the vocals has been done by Gram, the drummer, while the previous vocals were done by Myrkvid and also partly because the album itself had been recording between a period of about 8 years. This song sounds very much black metal like, and this is probably the point from which onwards, the album sounds like the genre it has been classified under. The drumming is brutal. The fifth song, I Dwell in Hell, is my favourite song from the album. The song starts with a very sad intro but instantly, as I said before, it transforms into, but something interesting this time. A guitar solo accompanies the whole song in the background and the drummer has again been very able in producing very experimental, yet interesting drum beats. The song definitely provides an atmosphere of despair and melancholy. The vocals can be called the characteristic black metal vocals and sometimes very reminiscent of Csihar. The sixth song, Human game, will surprise you because of the feel that is almost completely different from the previous tracks. At this point, the album can be said to have virtually transformed. It starts off with fast paced playing. This song poisonfully speaks of self-hatred, sadness and drugs. The vocals in this song are not of screams and grains but of shouts and wails. The seventh song, Lions z rigers, uses synths here and there. The vocals conspicuously pertain to elements of Satanism and sometimes to rituals. The eighth song, Stand above the earth, enters with creative riffs and brutal blast beats. Most of the song is vocally quiet but this at all does not make the song less enjoyable, with weird guitar solos and the brilliant production of the drummer. The lyrics refer to a certain ‘you’ throughout, but to who, I have no idea of. And lo! the album has transformed once again. The riffs and recording are differently carried out and there aren’t any vocals. And the song, In thy blood, progresses into an instrumental and is melodious and colourful. The last song, Between Heaven and Hell, enters with a sad guitar and remains as the only instrument till the end. This part however, offers the most melody that the album could not offer in abundance.
This album neither shows profound displays of musicianship and talent nor does it show a vomit of unnecessary speed and endurance, very common in certain genres of metal. This album neither spews out melody nor does it chew out the brutality reminiscent of the many black/death metal albums you have heard so far. This album is mediocre in its very existence and the musicians themselves are not ‘very’ skilled IMO, from how the guitarist furiously increases his speed on every change of part in a song while at the same time the drummer narrowly manages to drag his speed up to the guitarist’s who at the moment has already come down to the normal pace!! But what I do believe is that the album is special, not from the factors that I have mentioned before but from the creativity of these musicians and how they have managed to create an absolutely brilliant harmony between their instruments. They have, although, shown certain signs of overdoing it here and there but as a whole the songs are beautifully laced and simplistic. If you are looking to experience surprise, disgust (by judging the peculiarity), indifference… all at the same time then this album is the deal! I will not refrain from giving this album an 8 out of 10.