Schrei aus Stein - Wanderwege

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Band Schrei aus Stein
Album Wanderwege
Country United States of America
Genre Black Metal, Ambient
Release date (album) 2016
Release date (review) 2016/05/15


In essence the general conception of the music has remained the same. Progression is what can be found, but this time it is rather down to a common level and not up in the alpine environment. We are taken on a path, hardly ever something down trodden or commonly known. Hiking trails or hiking paths is what the topic of this album is all about. Therefore it marks a shift from the mountainous concepts, which had been explored on previous outputs. Has the music seen a re-interpretation as well? Is there a difference between what had been and what is now?

Maybe it comes down to “a path is a path, stupid” and it is of little importance where it can be found or to what climate region it belongs to. Also a mere wandering in a lone forest can be dangerous, too, and can have some unexpected situations to it. Wild animals as well as some adverse affects of the environment can take a toll on the wanderer. Accordingly, Schrei aus Stein thought it may be best to remain somewhere close to what they have established over the years. Nevertheless, someone familiar with the band as well as the progression with each further album, cannot but wonder about certain facets and elements. Could it be that the sound of the forest demands a shift in the focus?

Schrei aus Stein's music is very atmospheric. Layers are of some importance in this context and even though their impact appears to different now in scale, they still mark a corner stone in the structure. Judging from the dynamics and the sound of the music on this latest output there appears to be a slightly different focus now, which has found expression in a larger emphasis on the riffs and a small step away from the atmospheric facets. The guitars are more intense, they appear heavier and less dreamy. In terms of associating the music with a certain imagery or impression, then there is less of the distance and the feeling of being forlorn or even abandoned. It is possible to feel and experience the riffs.

Conventionality is not a strong point of the band, whose musical endeavours like to take a toll on the listener, who would not be granted simplistic and straight-forward compositions. Rather, Schrei aus Stein like to give the riffs the necessary space to develop their potential and sound. Here they help the music to have a certain aggressiveness and power, which is due to an increase in tempo, density and a slight absence of additional guitar layers. It may come down to a certain idea of steadiness, but bursts as a counterpoint make an occasional appearance; “Coiled in Horror” would be an example for this.

Yet, those metal elements are only side of the coin, which needs some discussion to those unfamiliar with this project. Similar to previous albums, also this one contains not only elements or rather moments, but passages, whose sound and style is anything but close to the metal genre. While the band had relied on something akin to sounds close what some people would associate with alpine regions or environment, to add these to this output as well would be an impossibility for reasons outlined before. Rather, the conception is either minimalist and strange, as well as intense and dense. There is a larger scale of emotions reflected in the two compositions that have these facets: “The Blue Gate” and “Ein Gleiches”. It has something of the mysticism found in woods or haine. These two tracks take the listener along and create a counterpoint to the black metal that dominated the first three tracks.

German speakers might raise some eye-brows over the title of the lack composition. Does “Ein Gleiches” refer to something? To quote the band – the source would be my interview with them –: It’s a recitation of the poem Ein Gleiches, or Wanderer’s Nightsong II by Johann Wolfgang Goethe:

Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
The birds in the forest are silent,
just wait, soon
you will rest as well.

It may be important to emphasize that the recitation appears in German and not in English. Furthermore, this would only be one way of translating the original and other ones can be found throughout the Internet.

Schrei aus Stein has retained some of the band's previous conceptual elements, but have moved slightly in a different direction. Again it is a release with a considerable amount of contrasts and facets. Therefore, purists of the genre might find it difficult to appreciate this variety, but those with an interest something out of the ordinary routine, might want to to give this release a try.