The Rickety Old Shack

Waldgeflüster — Mondscheinsonaten

album cover

Since I first discovered Waldgeflüster by way of a split release with Panopticon in late-2016, the project has evolved from a one-man effort to a full fledge band. Later that year, Waldgeflüster released the fourth full-length album, Ruinen, to much acclaim, and I really took notice of them. Sticking to their established schedule of releasing new material every 2-3 years, we are just now getting the project's next album in Mondscheinsonaten.

Where Ruinen, Mein Fesseln and other past efforts were much more direct and aggressive, this new record retains the core elements of the Waldgeflüster sound while still demonstrating a progression in song-writing and composition. Whether it's from the time spent collaborating with Austin Lunn (Panopticon), and / or performing live together, you can definitely hear more nuance on Mondscheinsonaten. There is a greater focus on melody on this album, but there are still moments of ferocity, such as the blastbeat sections of "Gripfelstürme" and "Und Der Wind..." and there are plenty of harsh vocals. There are dedicated acoustic passages and parts where it's blended with the electric guitars to great effect. The tripled-up vocals make a few appearances as well but not as often as heard on Ruinen.

At 7 tracks and a 56-minute running time, the songs on Mondscheinsonaten are the longest that Waldgeflüster have written to date. Each track transitions from sections of varying intensity and tempo seamlessly. The same can be said about how record progresses from track-to-track; Mondscheinsonaten is a really well put together release. After repeated listens, what initially seems like a mix of disparate song ideas feels more like a musical journey with an ebb and flow to it. Also, the production is excellent and largely stays out of the band's way; everything sounds good and the humanity of the performances remains intact in the final mix. The black metal influence is dialed back quite a bit, the guitar tones are rich and clear and apart from the harsh vocals there really aren't any other elements — aside from a generous amount of tremolo picking — to be found.

While the lyrics are sung entirely in German, Mondscheinsonaten doesn't really suffer much because of this. Vocalist and project mastermind Winterherz still manages to convey the emotional weight of the material even with a significant language barrier in the way. His clean singing is very good and his growls are as powerful and commanding as ever. I'll be honest, a lot of metal vocals styles may as well be in a foreign language anyway — I have plenty of records with lyrics I only know from the liner notes — so it really doesn't faze me. Funny enough, Winterherz' enunciation is excellent even if I can't understand a damn thing he's saying.

Waldgeflüster outdid themselves with Mondscheinsonaten, in my estimation. While not as overtly heavy and aggressive as previous albums, Mondscheinsonaten uses the strength of the calmer, melodic passages to accentuate the heavier sections of the record. If you've got a penchant for a fusion of melodic metal and German folk and patience for lengthy songs then you'll be well rewarded for your efforts. Waldgeflüster show significant maturation and improvement as song writers and this is their best album yet. I highly recommend this album to fans of bands like Panopticon and Falls Of Rauros.

Summary

After 3 years, Waldgeflüster are back with another strong entry in their discography. Tending more towards the melodic side, Mondscheinsonaten still features moments of fury and aggression, but tempers it with spoken word, clean vocals, acoustic instrumentation, and overall a greater capacity for nuanced song-writing. Mondscheinsonaten is easily the band's most mature effort to date, even if it lacks some of the unbridled intensity their other albums.

Album Information

Release date: April 12th, 2019
Record label: Bindrune Recordings

Winterherz — vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, electronics, programming
Markus Frey — guitars
Dominick Frank — guitars, backing vocals
Arvagr — bass, backing vocals
Thomas Birkmaier — drums

Track Listing

  1. Einleitung
  2. Der Steppenwolf
  3. Gipfelstürme
  4. Rotgoldene Novemberwälder
  5. Und Der Wind
  6. Von Winterwäldern Und Mondscheinsonaten
  7. Staub In Der Lunge

Link: blackmetalwaldgefluester.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: April 17th, 2019.