KLABAUTAMANN - Der Ort (HEAVY HORSES - CD 2005)
First time I had a chance to hear “Der Ort” was when Heavy Horses Records sent over to me a promotional copy of this CD around 2005. I did enjoy the music of Klabautamann quite a bit, I even decided to interview this band, for being slightly different than majority of black metal stuff around and of course also because I simply enjoyed their music. Years have passed… and recently I was listening to Klabautamann’s debut album “Our Journey Through the Woods” quite a lot and really liked it. So, now I decided to give “Der Ort” some listens as well and I can say that it’s good album also, but maybe not quite as good as I remembered hehe!
Saying that I don’t mean it is completely not good or uninteresting album anymore. No, I just feel like I prefer the songs and style from “Our Journey Through the Woods” slightly more. I won’t deny that Klabautamann has made a nice progress between both records. Their music evolved and progressed and yes, “Der Ort” kept some ingredients from the debut intact, but at the same time this album got rid off some aggressive and more pure black metal side of the music and switched them for things, which I may not always be so fond of. Style wise “Der Ort” still has that huge dose of atmospheric, sometimes folky black metal, where the band builds their music upon harsh, distorted riffs, often accompanied by acoustic guitars, all in order to create that great, epic, sometimes also melancholic feeling. Interestingly, if I compared the previous album to such bands like Helhiem, Agalloch, Enslaved, Helrunar, etc, then “Der Ort” may be more original style wise, but with small Agalloch / Wolves In the Throne Room traces still noticeable in few parts (not as strong though as before). And that black metal aspect is good. I like that Klabautamann so easily is able to combine the harshness and aggression with melancholy, melody and also arranges the songs with some additional instruments, etc. There’s a great richness of ideas on the album; you’ll find here some fast black metal mixed with a lot of acoustic guitar parts, next to piano interlude in song titled “Der Ort”. Then the next track “Forlorn Sin” has an acoustic opening with some clean vocals, which truly creates a nice, melancholic atmosphere, reminding me such bands like Agalloch, Forlorn and Borknagar. But there are also quite few songs, which have a stronger accent putted on the harsh, often quite fast riffing – let me only mention “Winternacht” and especially “Waldschrat”. They also create a dark, gloomy atmosphere, also have some melodic parts and several acoustic passages thrown within their structures, but generally seem to be more aggressive and straight forward than the rest of the material. And I must say that I really like this combination of fast, raw riffing and acoustics!
A real surprise and something that hasn’t been done in Klabautamann before comes with “October”. Imagine a doomy, melancholic song with not even a smallest touch of aggression, but with an overwhelming sorrowful atmosphere and all female vocals. It is very unexpected finish of the album. I must also mention “Red Urn”, which is all acoustic, with some clean and whispered vocal parts… again fitting well to the overall atmosphere of “Der Ort”.
Most of these sounds rather different when compared to “Our Journey Through the Woods”, I think. On one side I feel like the music of Klabautamann became more accessible, which means it’s easier to listen to, maybe slightly softer (despite having quite few fast black metal accents). But on the other side, it’s also richer, more carefully arranged and not as simple as the debut. All in all no one can deny that Klabautamann has progressed quite much. Whether their music went in a good direction, I will leave it to you to decide. I have listened both early CDs quite many times in past days and I think I like the debut more. “Der Ort” is also good, but maybe there are just too many fragments, which I didn’t like so much… On the other hand I am now really intrigued how the next two records of Klabautamann sound like, so I will definitely try to find “Merkur” and “The Old Chamber” soon. Very interesting band, all in all.
Standout tracks: “Der Ort”, “Forlorn Sin”
Final rate: 70/100