How is this for synchronicity? Just a little time ago we reviewed the new and bloody excellent album Wetterkreuz by German band Eis and also ran an interview with them. The band had previously been called Geist (mind, spirit, ghost depending on interpretation) but had changed their name due to conflicts with other acts of the same name, chiefly another German rock act. Lo and behold just as the interview was being put together a disc fell through the letterbox by a band called Geist and I seriously thought at first that someone was taking the piss until I realised that is was just one of life’s great coincidences. This Geist are very much in the black metal mould, perhaps not as cold and windswept as the icy deluge of Wetterkreuz but also thankfully a million miles from a crappy generic rock act. This band come from the much hotter and drier territories of Israel and Der Ungeist is actually the debut album from this one man outfit conceived by Ratimus in 2008. Ratimus decrees on his MySpace page (all I have found) to have a mission to “support all sick and perverted ways of the human mind! No philosophy! No agenda! only true madness!” Cannot really fault that can we, so what is the album like?

It would be easy to mistake this as Germanic due to the song titles and with the first of these Mord we are flung into a maelstrom of raging guitars and hate filled vocals. There are some classic and very Norske sounding guitar lines here and it is evident that inspiration comes from the heady second wave European BM style. The buzz saw instrumentation is precise and tightly honed and then we discover that the artist is not worried about slowing down and things go to the other end of the scale with some nice cadaverous vocals and a slow depressive edge taking over the music. The wretched shriek that pierces through from ‘Von Blut’ is excellent as is the raging fuedal sounding cleave pumping out the speakers and getting really in the face. Put on the spot I would find myself comparing this to recent work from the likes of Taake, Kampfar and Arckanum which speaks of this in high regard, even if we are in a place you would not expect to be able to see the wood for the trees. You can however hear the whistling wind if you listen carefully on the maudlin and funeral tomb of ‘Der Wald.’ Ratimus has quickly hit his stride and goes between the manic and depressive parts with ease, some nice elongated guitar cadences on this one really add to the doom fuelled vista.

This is a fairly short album at just 35 minutes in length but it means that it is one that the listener will find themselves quickly identifying with and coming back for repeated spins. If you like cold classic and orthodox Norske Svart sounding blackness this is a pretty great discovery from a very unlikely place.  Might want to consider a name change though!

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)