I had not unsurprisingly thought that this lot were a purely German outfit but although based there looking into things in more detail it appears the trio is has a Ukrainian musician in their ranks too, the drummer of White Ward. Their music is described as atmospheric black metal and there is not a huge amount more info on them or their debut album really to be found. Tragedy and mental anguish seep out from the album artwork and there is a certain amount of that found within the five tracks here, the titles talking of shadows in black and king of misanthropy, with a cold grey tinge about it all.
The opening instrumental does not give a huge amount away ‘Im Sommer ging ich fort’ a subtle salute perhaps to the passing of summer into a cold and endless winter. There’s certainly a depressive texture about its slow plodding trudge through snow which the instruments kind of suggest but it downs tools before it really has time to fully develop. ‘Angst meiner Fantasie’ sees Teutonic spoken parts ebb out the speakers like a ghostly spectre and sorrowful tones from the melody. Bloody rasps back it all up and although I am not versed in what they are saying they are borne of anger and misanthropy. Fretwork spirals away and there’s a bit of a DSBM mood and atmosphere to what is going on here. It’s well played and breaks into a savage salvo of furious drumming and whiplashing guitar, bass mournfully fleshing out the bottom end. It leaves me cold but not in the way I would hope and I have found this album a difficult one, kind of going in one ear and out the other over repeated plays and never really sticking in, just seeming to go on for way more than the short 33 minute running time would suggest.
‘König Misanthrop’ has a certain amount of drama about it, vocals and melody are a strong point but it is at heart another slow trudge that becomes quite repetitive. It all goes a bit post-black with the title track, introverted with a thousand yard shoe-gaze drifting through it and although a bit of a romantic flavour coats things, it’s just failing to move me. Last number ‘Die Klagen von Grau’ is a long and melancholic one. I find myself wanting to fully embrace its complaints of grey but as it stubbornly plods ever on I just can’t find myself being warmed or endeared to it and kind of find myself wanting it to end. This was a bit of a frustrating album and even after putting it down for a few times and coming back to it this is one I just couldn’t really engage with. I can’t really say that Schattenfall have done anything particularly wrong and normally I would lap this up stylistically but sometimes things just are not meant to be. I’m sure others will love it.
(6/10 Pete Woods)