I have it on good authority that Todesstoß’s previous album “Hirngemeer” was deeply dark and disturbing. This single track follow-up from musician, poet and painter Martin Lang promises something “more hallucinatory and mysterious”.
We are transported to a gloomy and deadly cavern. The sound of the organ quietly rings through the background. There are clattering sounds – like bones – and all in all the scene is grey and ghastly. Whispering, moaning words tell us in German about corpses laid out like bodies on beaches. This is dark, experimental and like a near-death experience in the worst possible sense. The dysfunctional sounds have no meaning except that they all represent this funereal world of nothing, decay and dead bodies. On it marches, becoming more grotesque and laden with inhuman cries and pain. The drum beat is ominous. The scene becomes more eerie, if that’s possible, and terrible as the screams become more tortured and the progress is more mechanical. The lingering backdrop has the rancid feel of a Burzum production. A melancholic and threatening world comes out of the other side, but this suggests there is an escape. Mr Lang’s picture does not seem to allow for any escape. Imagine someone falling down a hole and dying, with a cacophonous musical accompaniment. There is a strange turn about 33 minutes in when there is a curious classical guitar passage but it is brief and we soon return to the Burzumesque horror and grim corpse-filled fields. Repeated funeral tones take us to the end of this nightmare.
“Ebne Graun” gives us what it promises, and is without doubt a vivid representation of a hallucinatory and deathly world. Whilst I can accept that the musical form leaves the listener the latitude to paint his or her picture, in the way that radio can be more evocative than television, but the atmosphere in this place, which Martin Lang depicts, is uniform on account of its greyness. I wonder whether greater stimulation could have been derived from a series of visual canvases rather than the musical ones, which “Ebne Graun” presents to us.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)