DER_ROTE_MILANFrom the ash to fog and rain. That’s where the first two tracks take us on this black metal adventure from Germany’s Der Rote Milan. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the poetry of Charles Baudelaire quoted as an influence. I never got on with Baudelaire so I’d better pass on any judgement there but what I did hear initially was a harsh and uncompromising driving force with epic touches. So while I failed to find any connection with a famous French poet, I could identify the proclaimed unity of hatred and beauty, and the “mysticism of nature”. It’s a curious combination, but not indigestible as like driving rain, each track drives forward with blast beats, melody and purpose. There’s a little bit of similarity about them with the occasional movement to take us away from the familiar pattern. “Seelenasche” starts in a more sombre tone but graduates to the customary style. Likewise, the reflective opening of “Blutleere Stille” suggests a change in pitch but it doesn’t happen initially as the mood of despairing bleakness returns. There is promise of a change of mood towards the end. “Blutleere Stille” fades out to the accompaniment of the flute and the whistling wind. “Ewige Dunkelheit” (Eternal Darkness) tells us where we are going. It is a lingering piece of blackness, settling in the recesses of the brain with its melancholy and persistently black pessimism. What else could follow this track but “Der Abgrund” (The Abyss). It has a fiery but morbid progression, but little else to entice us over its nine minute course. Even the spoken passage towards the end, which sounds like it’s French, does not bring any added drama to the piece.

“Aus der Asche” is a solid black metal work. It has all the attributes of the genre but doesn’t jump out with its originality or dramatic qualities.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)