Heavy metal bands have been telling epic tales for as long as the medium has been a thing. The style just kind of lends itself to expanding your mind and taking a journey through either a story the artists have created or retelling of long-honored tales that have been a part of our societal fabric forever. In fact, it’s one of the things that attracted me to this style of music in the first place.
German doom-driven band Flame, Dear Flame have created their debut record “Aegis” as two stories put together, the first a three-part movement, the second a four-part story. “The Millennial Heartbeat” unfurls the story of the creation of the oceans and thanatography of the land, reimagining the genesis of the place we all call home. The songs originally saw the light of day in 2019 on an EP of the same name. “The Wolves and the Prioress” tells the story of a feral child that falls into the custody of a sage prioress, and it’s the most folk-heavy of the two pieces. The band delves heavily in melody and doom darkness, and vocalist Maren Lemke is an absolute force here as her great singing and expressive storytelling make this a really magical collection. Lemke along with the rest of the band—guitarist David Kuri, bassist Martin Skandera, drummer Jan Franzen—keep things riveting and enthralling, ensuring you’re fully engaged over these seven cuts.
“The Millennial Heartbeat Part I” starts the record and a triptych of cuts as the guitars burn, and Lemke calls, “We are unbound by your hands.” The playing heats up as the emotion bursts, colors flourish, and then everything slows and melts into the earth. “The Millennial Heartbeat Part II” has waters rushing and the vocals slipping in, easily numbing your wounds. “You will tear the world apart,” Lemke warns as the riffs buzz, and then everything catches fire. Echoey calls soothe, the playing plods darkly, and then everything liquifies, disappearing back into the waters. “The Millennial Heartbeat Part III” ends the trio as grimy guitars darken the atmosphere, and the playing churns generously. “Father, please forgive thy children, they know not what they’ve done,” Lemke wails as the guitars glimmer, and everything kicks into your chest. The playing then gallops, your heart rushes blood to your body, and Lemke calls, “Shall perish and once more will all become one, and all their deeds will be as though never done,” as things fades away.
“The Wolves and the Prioress Part I” is the first of a four-movement section, feeling rustic with acoustics as Lemke observes, “They never move or make a sound.” That charges up as the guitars flex, the band chugs harder, and gentle waters washing over can’t fully put out the embers that are a beacon in the murk. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part II” is doomy and emotional with strong singing and a fantastical feel, mesmerizing as the crunch lands. There is a strong push into the atmosphere as dark energies pulsate, and the final moments bask in mystery. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part III” also has a strong folk vibe, feeling transported from generations ago, combining smoky sultriness with woodsy imagination. The guitars create sparks as a psychedelic haze thickens, Lemke’s singing is soulful and thick, and you are permanently altered. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part IV” closes the album with guitars churning, the verses delivering force, and brief dalliances with solemnity being devoured whole. The guitars burst as the singing gets even stronger, the whole forces gushes, and it’s easy to get caught up and swept away. Acoustics rejoin the mix, the temperature begins to drop, and the track is swallowed in a thick, enveloping fog.
“Aegis” is as much a storybook as it is a record as Flame, Dear Flame unfurl two separate tales in which you can lose yourself. The band’s melodic doom and occult-feeding energy is compelling and fluid, and Lemke’s singing takes what already are strong forces and makes them into something even more special. This is an album that’s perfect for meditation, reconnecting with your spirit, or simply letting the darkness flow from your own vessel as you lose yourself into the stitches of these spellbinding epics.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/flamedearflame
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://store.eisenton.com/
Or here (Europe): https://store.eisenton.de/en/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.eisenton.de/