Dornenreich - _Freiheit_
(Prophecy Productions, 2014)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
Having followed Dornenreich for well over a decade, I can safely state that these Austrians (who made their full-length debut way back in 1997) have been able to keep a remarkable level of consistency throughout, especially for a band that creates music as unusual as theirs. _Hexenwind_ in 2005 was the only real exception to that norm in my view, and one they quickly recovered from. I thought their last effort, 2011's _Flammentriebe_, was rather outstanding, which inevitably raised my expectations for _Freiheit_ ("Freedom") significantly -- even more so as this is expected to be their last, at least for quite a while.

Over the course of its first three tracks (about 18 minutes) _Freiheit_ hearkens back to Dornenreich's acoustic excursion album _In Luft geritzt_, showing once more how one can create music with great emotional and instrumental intensity even when singing in German and using no distortion, or even much percussion. The guitar and violin playing on _Freiheit_ can be mesmeric, and the unique vocal delivery (I am loath to call it singing, as it seems a simplification) never seems to get old, no matter how many years go by. A darkness permeates everything without ever suffocating the music; it all seems vibrant to the point of bursting, yet underlined by this vast tranquility you can only ever sense.

Fourth track "Das Licht vertraut der Nacht" sees distortion and percussion finally arrive; aggressive vocals are unleashed, and the album changes, although it retains much in common with the first act. On "Aus Mut gewirkt", the intertwining of not only violin but also jaw-dropping acoustic guitar, and their melding with avantgarde blackened metal, is truly impressive. Despite the heavier parts, there are still more contemplative moments to be found, such as the sublime ending of "Im Fluss die Flammen" and the beginning of "Traumerstraum" immediately after. Farewell track "Blume der Stille" finishes the album on an exquisitely delicate, unassuming note: Dornenreich's music is going to fade away for a while, but so are we all in the end.

_Freiheit_ retains a fine sense of flow and continuity throughout, hardly missing a step along the way. This is exceptional work by highly talented musicians, regardless of genre or personal taste, and should be afforded the setting and attention it deserves to be fully appreciated. Dornenreich, what a shame you are going away.

Contact: http://www.prophecy.de

(article published 30/5/2014)


ALBUMS
2/26/2011 P Azevedo 9 Dornenreich - Flammentriebe
7/2/2008 P Azevedo 8 Dornenreich - In Luft geritzt
1/12/2007 P Azevedo 8 Dornenreich - Durch Den Traum
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 Dornenreich - Her Von Welken Nachten
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