Over the last four years or so, Hamburg, Germany’s Todtgelichter have undertaken a journey from being a more depressive black metal to a full-on astoundingly progressive black metal act. 2007′s full-length release “Was Bleibt…” documented a band that was relatively straightforward depressive black metal laden with memorable melodies and some impressive dual guitar riffing. The production was clean and cold, letting the band’s bleak vision march forth unabashed by cosmetic defects (as kvlt as they may be) yet still unthreatened by any over-zealous polishing. These Germans have come a long way.
The band’s third full-length, 2010′s “Angst” is still bears this torch but is not even close to being your standard corpse paint, leather and spikes fiasco. The avant garde BM act may be last year’s news for some but I think the band doesn’t get nearly enough press. The production is still cold and clear but this time betrays their meticulous attention to it. The drumming is the most non-black metal element present. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of chilled blasting to go around but it’s the accenting snare hits and tomwork that create a dynamic feel, always keeping listeners on their toes. This is a welcome change from the flatness of most standard black metal percussion, a flatness that is supposed to ad to the bleak nihilism of the music but often just serves to bore the audience, ya know, just kind of bashing them over the head with a blunt wooden object. Also, don’t let the presence of male and female vocals fool you, there are no wailing goth chicks here. Marta (pictured right) ads an incredible depth and variety to the songs without being gothy or sappy.
Essentially, this band is for fans of more tangible progressive heavy music, not the type that’s become a euphemism for calculator-induced rhythms and choppy riffing mishmash but one that seeks to break new ground from within a genre. This is but one humble opinion but I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that creativity is at its most exciting when it has to work within SOME limits. Much of progressive metal is strewn with breathtaking musicianship but lacks direction in the face of infinite possibility. On tracks like “Neon” the female vocals and layered melancholy instrumentation even harken back to the likes of Anathema.There are also grayish frosty shades of Enslaved, In The Woods and even Agalloch (minus the folk elements). “Moloch” (first vid below) is my personal favorite as it is a grizzly evil track that culminates in gnarley clean vocal harmony. Check it out.