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Folterkammer – Die Lederpredigt

Folterkammer
Die Lederpredigt
by Gary Hernandez at 27 January 2021, 8:31 PM

FOLTERKAMMER is an Operatic Black Metal band from New York. You may recall several of the members: Zachary Ezrin from IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT, Andromeda Anarchia from Andromeda Anarchia’s DARKMATTERS, Darren Hanson from COFFIN SORE and others, and the drummer . . . uh, that dude, you know, from that one band. Okay, well we all gotta start somewhere. The band name is German and translates to “torture chamber.” Sonic-wise, this is SWBM with vocals that shift from craven banshee to grandiose opera. The Wagnerian flare suggests Symphonic, but other than pipe organs, there are no hints of symph inflections on this album, so when the band says Operatic, yeah, that’s pretty much what it is . . . but with tremolo riffs and blast beats.

The album name translates to “the leather sermon,” and in the band’s own words it’s a “statement against the abusive nature of the oppressive systems of religion, authority, and blind faith, all through the voice of a monstrous, seductive goddess looking to inflict pain on her submissive creations.” Much like the conflicting music styles, the lyrics are also full of contrasts portraying characteristics typically associated with the male hierarchy but coming from a woman’s perspective. This inversion is a powerful critique about how we traditionally assign roles. Sometimes oppression can be doubly cruel when it comes from unexpected sources, and perhaps we’re more prone to succumb in these situations. Trust lures and love hurts (yep, that just happened).

The album is neither short nor long, coming in at just under 40 minutes and split across seven tracks, the longest venturing into Prog duration (north of eight minutes) and the shortest half that. So, these aren’t quick hit, melodic hooks but they also aren’t multi-movement philosophical diatribes either. With that said, I do believe the longer tracks are the more intriguing — “Die Nanie,” “Das Sinngedicht” (trans: the epiphany), and “Das Zeugnis” (trans: the testimony). Breaking that trend is “Die Hymne” which features Andromeda breaking out in soaring arias that are angelic, but message-wise are anything but.

So, the question remains: How successful is the album? Personally, once I got past the contrast, I started looking for the synergies. Some of these tracks are very effective, while others fall a bit short. “Die Elegie” and “Das Gebet” for instance are both a bit of a mixed bag. There are segments that are really good, but when melded together with the other musical phases, it doesn’t work so well. Again, with the longer pieces this has a way of resolving itself, but with the shorter pieces not so much. And, yes, I know some of that is aesthetic choice. This album, after all, is meant to jolt us from our comfort zone.

Final verdict, the many highs outweigh the few lows. Some might call it genius, some might call it too much, but too much is always enough. Great things about this album: The contrasts, Andromeda’s vocals, all the lyrics in German. The production values are also very solid. I get the sense this is more of a project than a band, but I would love to see it go on.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Die Nänie (The Nänie)
  2. Die Hymne  (The Hymn)
  3. Die Elegie (The Elegy)
  4. Das Gebet (The Prayer)
  5. Das Magnificat (The Magnificat)
  6. Das Sinngedicht (The Epiphany)
  7. Das Zeugnis (The Testimony)
Lineup:
Darren Hanson – Bass
Brendan McGowan – Drums
Zachary Ezrin – Guitars
Andromeda Anarchia – Vocals
Record Label: Gilead Media
     


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