Krieg – Transient (Candlelight)

Wednesday, 13th August 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

One of the most long-standing and notable of the American black metal movement, Krieg is not one to follow the “one every two years” album release model. Thus when a new Krieg full-length is released, one thing that can be assured is that there is never simply a ‘going through the motions’ sentiment attached. It’s one thing to fire out splits and EPs (which the band certainly does as they’ve already released 5 this year), but full-length albums always have a certain reverence to them. Transient should quench the thirst of Krieg fans.

Krieg will keep you on your toes with Transient. The guitar tone is downright sinister, no matter the speed or the approach. Krieg can take a forward-moving ripper like “Circling the Drain,” and slow it down into an almost industrial feel and it doesn’t feel out of place. The industrial feel also pops up on “Winter,” and is enhanced by some shouted vocals (as opposed to the traditional raspy ones). Elsewhere, you’ve got the almost doomy vibe of “To Speak With Ghosts, ” the more punkish attitude of “Return Fire,” and the melodic, bordering on post-rock feel of “Walk With Them Unnoticed.” Then there is the sullen “Ruin Our Lives,” which abruptly stops and introduces some electronic noise before pushing towards a relentless pounding of blastbeats. Nothing appears quite as bleak or withdrawn as “Home.” Not normally one for spoken word, the eerie ambient feel and sheer nihilism present in the track will hit a cord with most and is a surprising standout.

While the initial reaction to Transient stems from how equally spiteful and disgustingly bleak it is, there’s something more here that elevates it pedestrian black metal. The experimentation never dilutes the purity of the material at hand. Truly the music of a recluse, this is isolationist black metal that revels in its despair and anguish.

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