Album Review – Geisterwald / Geisterwald EP (2018)

From the haunted woods of the Swiss city of Geneva, here comes an infernal masked duo armed with their mechanized and uproarious Industrial Metal.

Formed in 2017 in Geneva, a city in Switzerland that lies at the southern tip of Lac Léman, Industrial Metal masked duo Geisterwald is unleashing upon humanity this year their self-titled debut EP, channeling all their passion for heavy music and their musical backgrounds into their newborn spawn. Comprised of Harald Wolken on vocals, guitars and synths and Gaëlle Blumer on drums, and with all of the songs from the album being entirely sung in their mother tongue German, Geisterwald are ready to make an uproarious impact on the underground Industrial Metal scene, with the music found in their debut EP being a fantastic taste of what those two Swiss metallers are capable of when armed with their gas masks and their metallic instruments.

The EP kicks off with an ominous intro sounding as if a beast is rising from a dark and tenebrous pit in the mechanized Alte Körper (which should translate as “old body” if I’m not mistaken), where Gaëlle crushes her drums while Harald alternates between deep, primeval growls and eerie clean vocals, resulting in a heavier-than-hell display of Industrial Metal infused with Neue Deutsche Härte. Just as insane and piercing, Kreuz (or “cross”) presents the duo building an industrialized atmosphere with their menacing sounds, with Gaëlle delivering both traditional metal beats and more factory-like sounds while Harald brings a touch of delicacy and lunacy to the overall music with his synths.

Then get ready for a dark and demented Neue Deutsche Härte extravaganza titled Wolf, sounding and feeling intense, macabre and demented all at once, with its somber guitars and the howl of a wolf being the details that make it so compelling and vibrant. Furthermore, Harald’s vocals feel truly demonic amidst the thunderous sound of the drums by Gaëlle, showcasing the amazing synchronicity between them. And the last blast of modern metal music by this infernal duo of masked marauders comes in the form of old school Industrial Metal the likes of Ministry and Rammstein, titled Schlag Stärker (which means something like “hit harder”). Simply bang your head nonstop to such heavy tune, where we’re able to enjoy a merciless Gaëlle on drums while Harald does what he knows best, which is growling deeply and in the most enraged way possible.

Whatever comes next for this talented duo is probably going to be even more insane and destructive than their debut EP, and while we wait for more top-tier Industrial Metal made in Switzerland let’s all go check what Geisterwald (which by the way is a wordplay in German for “ghost forest” or “haunted woods”) are up to on Facebook, including the dates for their wicked live performances, listen to their music on SoundCloud, and purchase a copy of their debut EP from BandCamp, from Big Cartel or from Amazon. As a matter of fact, I guess you wouldn’t mind getting lost in the haunted woods of Geneva and face the industrialized roars by Geisterwald, would you?

Best moments of the album: Schlag Stärker.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Intro 1:01
2. Alte Körper 3:20
3. Kreuz 3:33
4. Wolf 3:21
5. Schlag Stärker 4:20

Band members
Harald Wolken – vocals, synths
Gaëlle Blumer – drums

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Album Review – Sonata Arctica / Pariah’s Child (2014)

What in the name of Ukko is this garbage?

Rating10

pariahs_childAccording to the Merrian-Webster Online Dictionary,  the definition of the word shame can be “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety”, “a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute”, or “something that brings censure or reproach; something to be regretted”. However, there should be a new item added to this list: the new album from Finnish Power Metal band Sonata Arctica, the horrible Pariah’s Child.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start, or even if I should start talking about what was supposed to be called “music” in Pariah’s Child. It’s not Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Hard Rock, or even basic Rock N’ Roll, it’s just pure garbage that will make your ears bleed of annoyance if you don’t stay away from what is a serious contender for “worst album of the year”. There’s some blah blah blah that Pariah’s Child marks the return of wolf-themed songs, that “wolf” is a metaphor for fear, that it’s “old” Sonata, but nothing really works in this shameful disgrace. Instead of keeping drinking some good old Koskenkorva Viina, it seems Tony Kakko had a really bad trip with counterfeit LSD.

You might be deceived by The Wolves Die Young, which not a terrible way to start (even with that irritating sound from the keyboards), and think I’m exaggerating when I say the whole album sucks, but after listening to the “happy garbage” Running Lights, the most generic thing you can find in the world of heavy music (especially the totally forgettable guitar solos), and the even worse Take One Breath, you’ll start asking yourself “what the fuck is this shit?”, or even screaming out loud “please, make them stop!”

Still not convinced? Well, even if you have ears of steel like the Superman, the “kryptonite” song Cloud Factory will take care of it and make them explode, so stupid and boring this thing (which some people dare to call a song) is. Or maybe after listening to the more than awful Blood you might considering burning all your Heavy Metal albums and become a monk in Tibet, where the only thing you’ll hear is beautiful SILENCE.

sonata_arcticaBut believe me, as incredible as it may sound, the last part of Pariah’s Child gets A LOT worse than that. What Did You Do in the War, Dad? with its cheesy lyrics is so bad, but so bad, that I have no words to describe it; Half a Marathon Man is a totally failed Hard Rock attempt (it’s NOT a beautiful day!); and X Marks the Spot is pure nonsense and, more important than that, a warning to stop listening to the album before things get even more nightmarish.

If you love Sonata Arctica more than your life and didn’t get the warning from the previous song, then it’s your fault you’ll have to listen to the mellow torture called Love. I think even Ukko, the High God of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder in Finnish mythology, would cut his wrists and blood would rain over Finland after listening to this trash! And finally comes Larger Than Life, a 10-minute torment that in the hands of a supreme tyrant like Kim Jong-un could be used as the most powerful torture device ever seen in the history of mankind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Finnish Metal and was really expecting with an open heart another good album from this decent band from the land of ice and snow, but in this case it’s impossible not to hate every single minute of this shit. I’m just giving Pariah’s Child a 0.5 for some respect I have for Sonata Arctica’s old stuff and for the band members being nice guys, because it actually deserved a HUGE FUCKIN’ ZERO. Not even the well-done album art showing a lonely wolf (or a pariah) saves it. Unfortunately that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but a very sad and shameful truth.

Best moments of the album: A few parts of The Wolves Die Young are somewhat acceptable.

Worst moments of the album: Everything else. Pariah’s Child is a total nightmare.

Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Wolves Die Young 4:13
2. Running Lights 4:26
3. Take One Breath 4:19
4. Cloud Factory 4:17
5. Blood 5:54
6. What Did You Do in the War, Dad? 5:13
7. Half a Marathon Man 5:43
8. X Marks the Spot 5:20
9. Love 3:50
10. Larger Than Life 9:57

Band members
Tony Kakko – vocals
Elias Viljanen – guitar
Pasi Kauppinen – bass guitar
Henrik Klingenberg – keyboards
Tommy Portimo – drums