Werkraum – Unsere Feuer Brennen

After some excellent compilation appearances, I thought it was about time for an album of Werkraum. Apparently Cold Spring Records had the same idea and released the debut album of this German dark folk formation.

Undere Feuer Brennen comes in a thin digipack with a gold print on it but no bandname or title. Inside we read that Werkraum is mainly a one man project of Axel Frank. He is supported by vocalist Antje Hoppenrath, as well as members from Lady Morphia (Nick Nedzinsky) and Harvest Rain (Jason Thompkins). It also becomes clear that various decadent fin de si├Ęcle literary sources have been used (Rimbaud + Baudelaire).

But off to the music now, because it is certainly worth your time. ‘Welcome, sweet death’ is the friendly introduction to the opening piece ‘Nocturne’, a neo-classical track with spoken word in the best Blood Axis tradition. Then follows ‘Die letzte Jagd’, a melodic and accessible acoustic folksong in the way of Forseti, with clear vocals reminiscent of Belborn and some classic Death in June-like trumpets.

If you can say one thing about this album, apart from its high quality, is that is offers a widely varied array of styles and moods. Traditional folk songs are combined with more martial pieces, orchestral compositions and ambient/industrial elements. Another nice feature is the alternation between sweet female and deeper male vocals. Some of the highlights include the melancholic ballad ‘Chanson de la plus haute tour’, the catchy ‘Steh auf, Nordwind, the highly atmospheric psychedelic soundscape ‘Dignitas Dei’ and the swirling folksong ‘Heilige Krieg’.

A very rich album that you will not easily get fed up with, even after multiple listening turns.

artist: Werkraum
label: Cold Spring
details: 11 tracks, 2004 [csr49cd]