todtgelichter-apnoe2013’s Apnoe sees Germany’s Todtgelichter take further strides away from their Black Metal roots of a few years ago. Continuing the trend of the band’s 2010 Angst CD, but pushing things further, there is very little on here that could be classed as Black Metal. There’s some Black-ish chord progressions and some extreme harsh vocals – used sparingly – but that’s about it. It’s now Avant-garde, quite Progressive, certainly Alternative…and still very Dark, both musically and lyrically. The varying roads away from Extreme Metal has worked for many bands – Amorphis spring to mind – which is exactly what happened to me when I first played Apnoe!

It’s time to judge Todtgelichter as an entirely new animal, and musically yes, there is quite a bit of Amorphis (in their various guises – ‘Embers’ and ‘Expectations’ are fine examples) in there. The mix of harsh and clean male vocals add to the comparison. However Todtgelichter also use female vocals (more in the style of Madder Mortem or Amaran than the usual Gothic Metal lilt) and the blend of all three vocal styles made me conclude that if Dark Tranquillity had pursued the direction they experimented with on ‘Projector’, then this is how they would sound! ‘Odem’ would fit nicely on any Green Carnation release and add to that the two mainly female sung melancholy tracks (‘Until It All Begins’ and ‘Soil’), which remind me of Octavia Sperati or maybe The Gathering and this is one interesting and varied album.

Apnoe is dark but not ‘Gothic’, it’s progressive in the true sense of the genre and it’s alternative whilst still being Metal. Plenty to please everyone really…apart from fans of their Black Metal past perhaps…

(7/10 – Andy Barker)