2017 : Lamech Records
Format : 2xLP / CD
It has been five years since Sweden’s Die Kunst Der Finsternis released their debut album, Das Geheimnis Des Vampirs. Conceived as a lonesome endeavour by Hetroertzen’s Deacon D., Die Kunst Der Finsternis is a vehicle for all kinds of unhinged spiritual contact and folkish imagery. The first album is one of the most nightmarish recordings of the modern age. Unfortunately, the project would then shortly be laid to rest within the black sarcophagus from which it emerged. While I was disappointed, I knew without a doubt that Das Geheimnis Des Vampirs, would be quietly worshiped and given the respect it deserves in my own musical collection.
Just a few days ago, I had received word that the Die Kuns Der Finsternis project was being resurrected. I was and still am quite ecstatic about the news. The band has returned with a new full-length recording. With twelve full tracks and an hour’s worth of material, the spectral antagonist has once again returned to haunt the moonlit skies with a brand new ceremony baptised under the title of Queen of Owls.
Queen of Owls is a meticulously assembled album. Deacon D. makes use of a multitude of instruments ranging from the low rumbling of his intoned vocal style to the cello and the organ. All of them mesh together to erect a monument that honors the denizens that hold dominion during the witching hour. The organ passages are the best I’ve heard from Deacon D. On “Fog of Pestilence and Plague,” the song opens with a haunting organ piece that reminded me of the overture from Phantom of the Opera. I was exposed to that combination of style and imagery at an early age and to see it reflected here both visually and musically definitely made an impression me. The vocal style is incredible. There are moments that are reminiscent of Mayhem’s legendary De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas as well. The tremolo picking on “By the Hand of Merciful Death” combined with said vocal style creates for some of the more possessed sounds on the album.
Some of you may be familiar with a few of the other projects Deacon D. has been involved in. Die Kunst Der Finsternis is a bit different than any of the others. For one thing, it seems that the content presented is a bit darker. The lyrical themes seem to touch on the more unsettling aspects of folk lore and traditional horror. Die Kunst Der Finsternis is a vehicle for any kind of expression Deacon D. chooses. This is something I personally enjoy quite a bit as the apparent medieval and “plague era” imagery he’s conjured in both current and past work are themes that I share an interest in as well.
Queen of Owls presents a lot of interesting design choices that make it hard to pin down, namely its continual shift from classical sounds to Black Metal. Most projects that have only a single member writing and playing all of the material don’t generally carry this kind of depth. Deacon D. is a maestro when it comes to composition. Whether it’s the haunting piano passage on “The 13th Mystery” or the exemplary metallic riffs that bring “Inferno” to a close. Honestly, the man is simply one of the few great musical masterminds to rise from a style of music that as of late has failed to produce anything innovative. In the case of Die Kunst Der Finsternis, I am wondering if perhaps that while the body of Die Kunst Der Finsternis may have been laid to rest after Das Geheimnis des Vampirs, its spirit managed to haunt spectral realms, generating power that would eventually manifest itself in the physical presence of Queen of Owls.
The album is to be a joint release between Lamech Records and Amor Fati. Artwork and layout to be composed by 109 Arts.