I remember seeing these guys a long time ago at the Garage in Islington, and helping to jump-start their bus after the show as the battery had died. Really nice chaps they are too. But I digress. This is their fifth album and I must admit to never having listened to the previous 4, so while I may have seen them a couple times live, I’m not sure what their studio material is like.
Now first thing to mention is it would appear that I’ve been given ‘The End Of All Lies’ to review, while ‘Das Ende aller Lügen’ seems to be the original German tile and album. Having had a quick look at the Napalm site, there appears to be a double album version containing the German and English versions of this release and while I’m not 100% certain what the differences between the two are, from the couple videos I’ve watched, namely “Dunkelheit” and “Darkness”, the only one I noticed was the lyrics being in German or English. Now this does beg the question. Were the original lyrics penned in German and then translated to English, or the other way around. But 1 thing is for certain, there does appear to be a lot more venom behind them when sung in German.
The album intro is a speech from Charlie Chaplin’s film of the same name, “The Great Dictator”, which sounded far more ominous in the “Der große Diktator/Das Ende aller Lügen” video but there’s still all the required power in “The End Of All Lies” with its mid-tempo and melodic guitar interspersed with blasts and manic riffing.
Speaking of blasts, “Revolution” is full of them, but at same time the choruses are catchy with their gruff chants over the melodious guitar riffs before kicking things back up a notch for Freki’s shouts to try drown out the guitars.
Both Freki and Hati’s guitars feed off each other allowing Managarm to play some interesting leads on “Streyfzug” while Freki and Managarm’s vocals do the same when singing in tandem for the choruses over the bouncy riff structure.
Fenrier’s simple drum tattoo gives “Achtung” a slight military feel before the guitars add the required sense of rebellion required, but it’s the whispered and sweetly sung vocals that make your hair stand on end.
Next up is “Darkness”, which has 2 videos as I mentioned above, and it’s a great song to boot. The choral vocals give it a light feel, at first, then the far rougher and angrier vocals take over with a guttural roar every so often in the background. The guitars swing from gentle and mellow to vicious and menacing with all 4 styles combining for the outro.
The uber sweet music box sounds are joined by a wondrous female vocal on “The Dance Of Death” making Freki’s vocals seem all that much harsher and abrasive, but it’s the slow staccato that allows Managarm’s bass to punch through beautifully.
“Einherjer” is a great battle song as it builds and breaks going from rousing to melancholy via a cappella chanting back to death roars.
The ferocious “Winterstorm” takes no prisoners as it’s spat out with brutal precision and icy calm before the final track “Rain Of Ash” takes everything down to a slow mournful start until the guitars pick it up a little, but leaving the vocals clean to convey the right emotion and anguish.
I guess the first thing that listening to this album dispels is the thought that it’s going to be an undynamic wall of sound whereas it’s a rather thought provoking and intricately written album full of well planned changes in pace and intensity.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)