DieTotenThere are some albums that impress so much by their physical appearance that at the very least you know there is serious attention and involvement in your hands. This limited release is kind of special in its hand crafted presentation; odd photographs, kind off abstract landscapes juxtaposed with handwriting in German, sewn to and between leaves of aged paper and cardboard. It has a ‘lost artifact’ feel to it, something found in a box once the snows have cleared. Something that will never be fully deciphered. The concept of ‘total art’, all facets from package to final note being as important as each other to the whole, is foremost here and oddly rather humbling to receive.

I had thankfully heard Die Toten Kehren Mit Dem Wind previously: The last (5th?) album by this obscure German one man project was Ich Trauma Von Finisternis, and was a bleak, introverted journey through dark ruins and dusty places, an evocative piece I still enjoy. This, according to the neat information tract/cover is perhaps even more isolationist; almost abstract musical musings on watching the passing of a wanderer with unknown purpose and destination.

It is, even by the standards of depressive, bleak one man black metal bands a slow, thoughtful and often quiet documentary. Split into eight untitled pieces it stretches it’s insistent fingers out over seventy odd minutes, a bone deep cold and stillness the overriding presence here as a lone figure moves across the soundscape. Slow, echoing guitar notes fall and sprinkle over the land, occasionally discovering flowing water or squalls where the harsh black metal vocals gnaw through your protection. Haunted, melancholy keyboard swathes part for discordant but distant guitar strikes and a single metallic beat presents as rhythm and dissolves into chimes blown by the whispering wind.

This is a quiet mystery. Obscure, occult narration; dark ambient warped around a figure trudging to an unknown but compelling destination. As a listener, or the observer, all we can do is keep our eyes to the trudging, obsessed footsteps of this wanderer through a quite mesmerizing landscape of the bleak, the still, the cold. It is sparse, the production is in parts thin, but it all slides together as we follow it. Touches of early Mortiis, yet much more accomplished, hide in the folds; a little parallel travel alongside Exiled From Light without the drumming. Ambient that requires you listen to it rather than let it fill the spaces around you. Perhaps not quite in the compelling league as From The Bogs Of Aughiska but still a fine and intriguing piece of work from an artist determined to follow his own path without flinching at holding every facet together as a single piece.

For slow, quiet, bleak but often gentle art you really can not go wrong with this. Track it down and maybe you will be lucky to take this home and let it breathe a little mystery into your life.

(8/10 Gizmo)