Austrian Ambient/Black metal masters Dornenreich have once again managed to bottle the magic elixir that has proved so successful for them in the past with their seventh full-length, Flammentriebe. Due to be released in a few short days, this disc is quite a knockout. Containing just over 50 minutes of the perfect blend of brutality, atmosphere and artistry, Flammentriebe showcases some excellent composition and wonderful emotion.
Though the group has been known in the latter part of its existence for its ambient/neofolk, Flammentriebe marks a return to the more traditional symphonic black metal sound that characterized their early releases. Despite this, Flammentriebe exhibits a certain sense of musical maturity and grace in that it weaves together the broad, sweeping sensibilities of ambiance found in Dornenreich’s more recent works with some undeniably HEAVY shit. The guitar work here is much meatier and less atmospheric than in the past, with plenty of chugging blast beats as well as heavily syncopated blackened death riffage. Although some ethereal trem-picking magic remains, the majority of the electric guitars on this album are much more bassy and chunky-sounding.
Of particular note are the string arrangements on Flammentriebe. Every song incorporates some element of string orchestration, usually one or two violas or violins. In terms of composition, this allows the songs to have a lot more contrast of light and shade. A large part of the melodic themes on this album are driven by the strings and their sonic interplay with the guitars.
All in all, this album is definitely a grower. Due to the massive nature of the compositions it takes a while for everything to sink in, hence why it was impossible for me to single out two or three tracks to highlight as I normally would. However, I can definitely say without a doubt that Flammentriebe is a great record and well worth checking out.