Nerrath unleashes creative fire with black metal project Horn, doom sorrow trio Cross Vault



We probably all feel like we have way too much to do every day and not enough time to get it done. Work, home responsibilities, trying to eat right, taking care of your family, that all takes a lot of time and effort, and I know there are tons of times when I wonder if I can do it all.

Well, German musician Nerrath probably reads all of that and laughs. Not that I know what the guy does every day or how he makes ends meet, but apparently he hasn’t let any of that get in the way of his creative output. Not only does he have a new record out for his solo project Horn, he also got together with his other band Cross Vault and completed a new album with them. Both of those efforts are unleashed upon us puny weaklings this week, and each one satisfies different aspects of the metal universe. But if you’re one that has a strong affinity for raw, yet rustic black metal and emotional doom, then you’re bound to have even more to do when you sit to absorb both offerings.

Horn coverHorn has been around for 13 years now, and ever since 2005, Nerrath has managed to put out a new full-length every few years, with new “Feldpost” being his sixth record under this banner. According to the bio materials, this is the first one Nerrath has recorded in a proper professional studio, and the music benefits from a richness and atmosphere that does nothing to compromise the darkness and fury of the music. The music also is very emotional and infectious in spots, with parts woven in that’ll replay in your mind long after the music stops playing. Thematically, Nerrath digs back to tales from the two world wars, and all of the material is sung in German only. So if you’re not familiar with the tongue, you’ll have to go on the majesty of the music. Also, two of the tracks here are carryover cuts from the 2010 “Distanz” album re-recorded for this effort.

“Drei Spaten am Grab” opens the record, feeling a bit like early Primordial, as it fires up with harsh growls, swelling melodies, and some bellowing vocals that come ripping out. ”Die Würfel rollen wieder” surges, with vicious, creaking growls mixed with spirited singing, riveting playing, and a heavy storm settling in toward the end, as the track comes to a volcanic finish. ” Wache schreibt…” has guitars spiraling, melodies flooding to the surface, and all the elements cascading. There’s a relentless pounding to part of the song, yet later it slips into folkish territory, adding rustic texture to the pumeling sounds. ”…und keiner wüsst’ von Flandern” opens with dark and ominous tones, presenting itself as one of the harshest cuts on the album. The song is delivered slowly, with coarse vocals bubbling up, and then a spirited, really emorable section of melodic singing bursts through the gates. That part really sticks in my head and has so ever since the first visit with this record. Finally, we end with the two redone cuts from ”Distanz,” as ” Überall und über allem” is a little bit longer than the original version, remaining thrashing, slattering, and punishing; while ”Die verlorene Rotte” closes this great effort with heavy riffs, rolicking bass, abrasive growls, and more folk elements mixing in with the total blackness.

For more on Horn, go here:

Cross Vault

Cross Vault

If you’re looking to feel dark and near tears, that’s where Cross Vault comes in handy. The feeling of horrible loss and mournful darkness is impossible to avoid on “The all-consuming,” their second record, with Nerrath (or N, as he is known here) sticking to English for his words and vocals. He and his bandmates—M on guitars and bass, B on drums—dig deep into the guts for what they conjure here, spilling slow-boiling doom into these tracks but also countering with folk lushness elsewhere to add even more heart and texture to these songs. The songs can feel solemn and hopeless in spots, gargantuan and crushing in others, and it’s the strongest of the band’s two albums (last year they released “Spectres of Revocable Loss”). This is a band that hasn’t really made a huge impact beyond their underground lair, but all it takes is more ears before Cross Vault’s name dances on more tongues.

cover_32_300These tracks are filled with anguish and pain, starting with “Revocable Loss,” a 10:19-long epic that starts with calm, reflective guitars that set the stage for the heart-ripping impact and Nerrath’s clean singing bellowing. Later the song goes cold, growls emerge, and strong soloing fires up, paving the path for some elegant playing and Nerrath calling, “We will forever be weightless.” “Simple marksman in the pines” is slow and melodic, one hell of a mammoth cut that’s rich with emotion. More stellar guitar work, quiet acoustics, and gut-wrenching playing all have a part, with the crushing tale unfurling before you, and dark clouds accumulating and drifting off into the distance. “Amber Nights” sounds exactly like what its title indicates, a delicate, lush passage that veers into folk, singing that sounds delivered from the depths of Nerrath’s guts, and later a deluge of sound that pays off the sense that the drama is building forcefully. The title track delivers punches right away, staying as dark as anything on here and later allowing gorgeous guitars to slip into the scene. Gritty singing that dissolves into growls, dreary guitar work, and expression that bleeds away slowly highlights this cut. Finally, closer “The words that pierce no soul” is an 11:22 song built on morose melodies, punishing emotions, and Nerrath, at the end of his rope, admitting, “Here I stand with nothing more to give.” If you walk away from the record unaffected, you have no heart.

For more on the band, go here:

These records might not serve the same audience necessarily, but there darkness that stretches across both that certainly could unite listeners of each band. Nerrath has a lot to show for this burst of creativity, both what he did on his own with Horn and what he and Cross Vault created together. These are two damn formidable releases that and worth your while, brain cells, and whatever you have left of your hearing.

To buy either album, go here:

For more on the label, go here:

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