December 2nd Swiss black metal band Ernte released their debut album “Geist und Hexerei”.
The first composition is an almost instrumental intro called “Prozession”. 3 minutes of slow melody give the medieval vibes, plunge the listener into the atmosphere of the ancient times. Quiet screams on the background add some gloominess, making the track sound more sinister. The start like that raised my expectations from the album.
“Prozession” has great contrast with the next song, “Betyle”. It starts like a classic black metal song: blast beats and raw guitars. What is interesting about the track is the vocal part: dull sound as if the singer was trapped in a well. Along with the guitars, it gives to the listener the feeling of despair. It sounds nice, but I wouldn’t call this song very special.
“Betyle (The Holy Stone)” continues with much faster and much more aggressive “When the moon is calling”. This track has interesting changes from intense riffs to slow grim melodies, pretty much associated with atmospheric black metal. The song sounds epic, I wish I knew the lyrics.
The next track, “Cold mists of November”, has a very mysterious beginning which later changes to faster riffs again. This really reminds me of the previous song. The end of the composition slowly fades away which adds a few occult vibes.
“Killing Phantasmagoria”, the first single, comes back to dull, echoed vocals and, in my opinion, this makes the song more interesting and atmospheric. The music video is something I don’t get here. There’s no plot and all that happens in the video looks a bit too abstract to me. So instead of adding the charm to the track it gave me some kind of frustration.
The third single, “Montane mastery”, starts with a catchy riff followed by quiet singing. The technique of the vocalist reminds me of early works of Cadaveria. The music video is more aesthetic and easier to understand: an old abandoned castle, the band walking in the forest and so on. Maybe because of the visuals, but this song is the first one after “Prozession” that sounds unusual and interesting.
Suddenly the album hits us with the second part of “The Holy Stone”. A one-minute instrumental that lets the listener have a rest before the next song: the melody is calm and soothing. The only thing I don’t understand is why did Ernte decide to put this track not right after “Betyle” and not as an outro.
“The ending void”, the second single, finishes the album. Slow, raw guitar sound with dense vocal lines create a depressive, sinister atmosphere. The music video makes it stronger and combines classic details with modern solutions.
Overall, this album has a lot of nice things in it. For example, the sound quality is way better than it could be. Plus, unlike many classic black metal albums, “Geist und Hexerei” has a very warm cover in yellow and orange colors on a black background, which looks nice and cozy to me. There is a couple of interesting sound decisions like the vocals or the violin in the intro. But most of the songs are so similar to one another I got tired very soon. They are not bad as singles, but because of this similarity the whole album sounds pretty boring.
Release date: December 2nd, 2021
Label: Vendetta Records
2. Betyle (The holy stone)
3. When the moon is calling
4. The cold mists of November
5. Killing Phantasmagoria
6. Montane mastery
7. The holy stone part II (Interlude) 8. The ending void