Porta Nigra – Schöpfungswut (Soulseller Records)

Thursday, 30th January 2020
Rating: 7/10

In the last year of my life as an undergraduate I leaned heavily into the world of foreign film, particularly of the French variety. I tend to prefer experiences that are both emotionally and spiritually exhausting and quite frequently the films I’d gravitate toward sated each of those needs. In particular L’Apollonide: Souvenirs de la maison close is set in a turn-of-the-century French brothel and is frequently devastating. I mention it here because the band here under observation, from Germany, mines the same historical period.

While solid, however, Schöpfungswut isn’t remotely emotionally devastating. That’s okay though, what the album is, is a solid if unspectacular exercise in melodic black metal, with six (frequently overlong) tracks weighing in at over 45 minutes. Unsurprisingly, while choruses aren’t really a thing across the album, the songs are structured similarly, with standard blast-beat sections giving over to similarly timed double bass passages, interspersed with the occasional break or punk beat. “Das Rad des Ixion” isn’t as given to formula as opener “Die Kosmiker”, instead featuring a fantastic aside that gives birth to an all-too-brief solo.

A trend here becomes evident. A similar standout is found in “Die Entweihung von Freya”, which again allows some room for the listener to breathe while the song drops its breakneck pace and takes on differing flavors – including group clean vocals. Closer “Schöpfungswut” carries all of the elements present in the previous songs but manages to transcend the samey-ness by sheer virtue of its intensity – it moves. In general, however, each of the songs hover around the 8 minute mark and each are constructed along very similar lines, Schöpfungswut takes thematic consistency a bit too seriously.

While the album is certainly no L’Apollonide in its emotional weight, it’s an okay experience. It’s full, it’s loud, and it will sate your needs if you’re seeking an end-of-century experience across multiple centuries.

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