Still keeping up an air of anonymity in the Internet age, which is something increasingly difficult to do, you won’t find a huge amount of information about the players in German act [Dolch]. Their first couple of releases came from out of nowhere and we only got a real insight about them when they played here with The Ruins Of Beverast and King Dude sharing some members live with the former on the night. I loved their first demo I & II album but was not struck at all and put the [dagger] in on their second demo III finding it a bit patchy and sporadic and not developing well as a cohesive listening experience. Apparently Feuer is the first part of a trilogy of albums to be followed up by Nacht & Tod and the good news as far as I was concerned is that on playing it I immediately saw the spark and passion as well as the excellent music that had drawn me to the band in the first place. Bladed things are thankfully well and truly [sheathed] this time around.

In line with the Fire we have Burn but seriously there is nothing particularly combustible about the music here it is on the whole gentle and songs are designed to have the listener swaying in their firm yet caressing grip. The gothic tendencies rather than the doom seem to be have ramped up here and are certainly more prolific and with this and the ladie’s (we have no name given anywhere so will respect that anonymous aspect) gorgeous voice this is a lovely warming experience. In fact, listening to the overall effect along with the sublime melodies here I am reminded a fair bit of UK act The Eden House and the vocalist could easily fit in with their revolving line-up of great singers. When she hits the high notes as she does here it sounds both breath-taking and completely natural. Halo (Afraid Of The Sun) mentions the end of the world so could we be in danger of burning up in the heat as global warming ramps up and two celestial bodies get closer to a time when there can only be one winner? At the moment we are warm and very much so as the vocals wrap about us with the subtle shimmering musicianship. This one has a central melody that is totally memorable and is a fantastic song which once heard is almost impossible to forget. Stunning, ethereal, enchanting, this is beautiful music for cold winter nights, you cannot help but fall in love with it.

We get a funeral and a love song. Doom fittingly seeps into the first ceremony and the mood is both solemn and graceful. Tears may be shed but the memory of that laid to rest is gorgeously reflected upon. There’s some subtle strings in the background here making the whole experience sound even more poignant. The Love is a bitter pill with the words “I am glad we are not what you want us to be” repeated and looped throughout over rumbling bass and slow drumming. It’s an effective statement although the experimental nature of things does distract a bit from the otherwise grandiose harmonies of the album. ‘Psalm 7’ was released as a single prior to this and has a post punk feel as the guitar makes a lone call before things build and rise to another strong and witchy vocal performance and exquisite harmony. This is certainly ticking all the right boxes for me and takes me back through times to the mid era of Siouxsie And The Banshees and many of the artists on the 4AD label as well as newer and highly respected artists like Chelsea Wolfe and Darkher. This is more from the mood and atmospheres created by these songs however as well as the timeless feel about them more than anything more direct. The somewhat storm approaching clouds of ‘Mahnmal’ kind of ties many of these acts together into the grand scheme of things but there is also a solid feel of uniqueness here too with the band very much doing things on their own term. By the time we get to the last number and title track Feuer I’m totally up for and anticipating the next chapter of this trilogy but stick around for the bonus track first. [Dolch] have the ability to achieve big things although whether that is something they are interested in remains to be seen and I guess that perhaps they are not interested in doing so. Their music definitely shows they have the capability and Feuer is definitely their defining moment to date.

(8/10 Pete Woods)