Allerseelen : Rauhe Schale

Aorta/Ahnstern : 2010
Format : Digipak CD

Gerhard Hallstatt is an alchemist, taking bits of sound and restructuring them to make something completely different. If you’re familiar with his work as Allerseelen at all, you’ll know that it doesn’t easily fit into any distinct category, but bends, blurs and melds several creating something that’s very much his own. Almost always rhythmic, sometimes hypnotically so, he uses loops, samples and real instrumentation to draw from Industrial, Folk, Classical and even Metal to completely eradicate any preconceived notions you might have had.

Gerhard’s history is long an varied, releasing works as Allerseelen as far back as 1988 as well as releasing material as Gerhard Petak, Kadmon and Post Morte. He’s also been involved with a long list of performers like the legendary Zero Kama as well as recently becoming a full-time member of Austrian Folk madmen Sturmpercht.

For “Rauhe Schale”, the first noticeable difference from the the last full-length, 2007’s “Hallstatt”, is aggression. You’re aware from the first few riffs of “Wo Ist Das Leben” that this will be far from a mellow listening experience. Even some of the more subdued tracks like “Ob Auch Mein Herz So Funkelt” have an air of menace lurking just below the surface of their melodic sheen and tracks like “Die Berge Werden Leer Sein” that are down right evil. Hallstatt’s vocals, always delivered in his native German, contributes to this as well. Admittedly, I had a hard time wrapping my head around them on my first exposure to them several years ago. Then one day watching a documentary about American Indians, it dawned on me that the medicine men used the same sing-song, spoken tones using the voice as a tool to hypnotize. Combine this with the oft time repetitive rhythms of the songs, Shamanic Alpine Folk Metal.

The album also boasts some distinguished guest musicians: Marcel P. on bass (Halgadom, Miel Noir, Sagittarius, Svarrogh), Dimo Dimov on guitar & piano (Fahl, Miel Noir, Sturmpercht, Svarrogh) and violin contributions from both Meri Tadic (Eluveitie, Irij) and Annabel Lee (Blood Axis). The beautifully digipak also comes with a 16 page booklet with lyrics in German and translated into English. There are some amazing photos included in the booklet as well as the digipak that were taken by Gerhard himself. I’ve only recently discovered he’s an accomplished photographer as well. Just look at any of the recent Ahnstern releases and chances are you’ll find some of his work. There will be a book of his work published on Ajna sometime next year. An excellent release and worth tracking down.

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