Label: Aural Music/Code666
Review by Davide Torresan
I waited a long time before writing something about the new work of Todtgelichter. I hope my boss is not angry, but this way I had the chance to check how worth or not this new album is, “Apnoe”. The teaser released by the band in February confirmed my already high expectations for this new CD. A couple of months later I was really euphoric after the first listening. I wasn’t wrong and I listened to it over and over again. I pushed aside the album for another couple of months and I enjoyed other CDs and musical genres. Only recently I picked it up again for another listening and I can say that my initial impressions were right. We are halfway through the year, but for me “Apnoe” is the best release of 2013. I’ll tell you another thing: it’s Todtgelichter‘s best album, result of a stylistic evolution that I would like to reward. Their first albums, “Was Bleibt…” and “Schemen” had within them a little bit of melody despite black metal, but it’s only with “Angst” that they released a real gem of avantgarde metal. The German group was able to mix drum’s blast beats, solid guitar riffs and progressive metal with the angry screams of the singer Nils and the beautiful voice of Marta.
But Todtgelichter changed its line-up with the replacement of the bassist/singer Nils with Tobias as the new singer and the insertion of Christoph Wonerow as the new bassist. The first thing that I noticed in “Apnoe” is a radical departure from the past. Although the new sound is various and it has many influences, the black metal is almost gone. You have to forget the heavy sound of the previous works, so enjoy a rock/metal full of styles where the alternation of three voices will thrill you. Tobias owns the ability to switch from a clean voice to a really interesting hoarse screaming. Another positive note is the massive use of Marta‘s voice. She is not Simone Simons or Sharon den Adel, and she hasn’t got a notable vocal range, but in “Apnoe” she did a great work. These decisive changes can be seen in the first two songs of the album, “Embers” and “Lights of Highways”. You have the feeling of listening to a soft song, but it’s still metal with its guitar riffs and Tobias‘s screams. With “Expectations” you’ll fall in love at first listen, though it’s not an “easy” song with its countless changes of tempo. “Kollision” is, maybe, the more experimental song of the album since it’s pure electronic music with Marta who sings in the background in her mother tongue. In “Beyond Silence” the 1st guest makes it appearance, and it is the lead singer of Lake of Tears, Daniel Brennare, whose warm and clean voice stands out immediately with its strenght. In this song the intertwining of the three voices is perfect and the songwriting level reaches the apex of elegance and precision. It reminded me of a band that lately is releasing a masterpiece after another: the Norwegian Enslaved. “Soil” clearly talks about the exploitation of natural resources. The nature rises up and it’s well played by Marta, who uses an angrier voice than usual. She talks about its unpredictability in being able to break the connection between man and Earth:
“If I want your buildings to collapse, the ground will tremble through my voice. If I want your cars to stop, I will ignite your gasoline”.
In “Odem” only Tobias sings. He did a great job to which you can’t remain indifferent. The same thing also applies to the lyrics whereby Todtgelichter has never been so able and mature: “So hold your breath from time to time and leave this world far behind to know that life doesn’t lack for sense… – Everything is measured. – Everything is rated. – Time the crucial treasure, underestimated”.
“Until It All Begins” is another highlight of “Apnoe”. The song is entirely sung by Marta, who, with her calm and sweet voice, is accompanied by a contrabass and by some jazz percussions. This track is a sort of farewell, a prayer to someone that is no longer alive:
“Hush, little one – We have to rest I close my eyes and dream – Soon we’ll meet on the other side – On the other side I will take your hand I wish I was beyond death to stay a little bit longer – What it is all about, is the essence of being, the essence of life”.
With “Tiefer Fall” the atmosphere changes completely since it’s a catchy track sung in mother tongue with a overwhelming rhythm. In this song there’s the 2nd guest, the singer/drummer/keyboardist of The Vision Bleak, Allen B. Konstanz, who duets with Marta. The conclusive “Torn” sees the return of the acid and hoarse screams of Tobias, but it’s when he use the clean singing that he gives his best. He definitely knows how to entertain the listener like only a few singers could do. The album ends here, and I can’t help but to listen “Apnoe” again. By now it’s clear that Todtgelichter moved an important step outside of black metal, offering us an original post-black metal close to gothic and progressive metal. I can’t wait to see where this new path will lead them. In the meanwhile I can assure you that “Apnoe” is a really brilliant and inspired work. A perfect album for a perfect band.
Rating – 100/100
- Lights of Highways
- Beyond Silence
- Until It All Begins
- Tiefer Fall
- Tobias – Vocals
- Marta – Vocals & organ
- Frederic – Guitars & vocals
- Claudio – Guitars
- Christoph Wonerow – Bass
- Tentakel Parkinson – Drums & synths