True human emotion is something that gets kind of a bad name when it comes to metal. Every record that’s meant anything to anyone must be dashed with some kind of human feelings, otherwise, what is it that lights a fire inside? Even if it’s raw Satanic heathenism. Sure, those people might laugh at those who wear their bleeding hearts on their sleeves, but it’s all coming from the same center point inside.
All those words are there to set up talking about “Emotionale Ödnis,” the debut record from Swiss black metal band Tardigrada, and from the album title alone, which translates to “emotional wasteland,” you can tell they’re smearing what they feel inside into their music. It’s pretty easy to tell from the first few minutes of this record that the band isn’t holding back when pushing out their inner turmoil, and that results in songs that are thunderous from a volume standpoint, but also from that of the human experience. Bands such as Alcest and the stupidly maligned Deafheaven come from the same spots as Tardigrada (though don’t really sound like them) and paint with the same colors. If anything, Tardigrada’s threads are heavier and more savage, but make no mistake, you’re going to feel something.
English speakers may be kept at a bit of an arm’s length as the lyrics are in the band’s native tongue, but you can’t miss the musical expression and the way the words are driven home. The band itself has been together a little over a half decade now, with live shows a rarity, as they have been working to perfect their sound. The group—guitarist/vocalist Kryptos, guitarist Threnos, and drummer H.A.T.T.— only had a 2012 demo before this, but clearly they caught the attention of Eisenwald and Fallen Empire, who are putting out this record, and this debut is sure to gnaw on way more hearts than just mine. The album is just a barnburner of gut-scraped expression, and it kills. Ignore the heart-wrenching stuff if you must. I ignore all the silly Satanism in records from bands I love. You can do the same for this scorcher.
The record is constructed with five interludes and five full tracks, and we get started with “I,” as chilling guitars and moody melodies set the tone and stream toward “E Sturm Zieht Uf” and its shadowy presence. The beginning of the cut is bleak and drizzling, but then it opens to fierce shrieks and the drama pounding on the gas pedal. The intensity builds with the track, with shrill howls bruising, gazey playing gushing, and a sudden burst of power toward the end of the track coupling with crazed howls that sweep you away. “II” floats on clean guitars and haunting echoes, making its way toward the gates of “Die Wand,” which impacts with a surge of sound. The song speeds up, as the fierce shrieks intensify and claw under your fingernails. The atmosphere gets stormier and more threatening, with melodies cascading like sheets of heavy rain. As the assault subsides, a thick fog and cold winds greet you, making you think you’re in the clear, only to drag you back to the eye of the storm. That paves the way for the song’s fiery finish, which fittingly resolves in a driving rain. “III” continues the precipitation and thunder, soaking the ground beneath your feet, which threatens to swallow you whole.
“Erschöpft” swims in glorious melodies that spray sunlight, leading into a heavy, crushing section and another charge of animalistic fury. The vocals grind into your bones, while the song spirals and causes the room to move, and the drums hammer away without mercy. The shrieks wrench, the music floods, and the final moments make their final impact before fading away. “IV” brings your temperature down for a moment, with quiet, reflective guitars glazing, only to fade into the mist. The title track then strikes, ripping open and letting out flushing melodies that fill the senses. A short stretch of calm allows temporary breathing space, only to be crumbled by the next attack and the vocals that sound like they’re going off the rails. Drums splatter while gazey guitar melodies unfurl, and the whole thing comes to a rushing end. “V” is the final interlude, a solemn, dark passageway toward closer “Verfall,” which wakes you with a thunder crack. Huge riffs prevail, while the song begins punishing heavily, driving you to run for cover. The track is the band’s terrifying last gasp on the back end of a record that, suddenly, has your guts tied in loops and your chest in full heave over what you just experienced.
Tardigrada’s bloodletting is on full display on “Emotionale Ödnis,” and that wasteland is filled with torment, scorn, and hurt. This record will bruise and scar you, whether you expect that or not, and their music will march into your heart and pull the chains that bind it. This band is one hell of a revelation so late in the year, and their darkness is far thicker than anyone’s forced evil.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tardigradabm
To buy the album, go here: http://store.fallenempirerecords.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.fallenempirerecords.com/
And here: http://www.eisenton.de/