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Tausendstern – Hamartia

Tausendstern
Hamartia
by Jon-Paul McCarthy at 28 February 2022, 6:04 AM

From their biography, TAUSENDSTERN can readily be cited as a meeting of two minds with a common goal. The resultant work is presented here as “Hamartia”, a blackened death metal opus entirely self-produced and delivered independently. The effort that such an undertaking requires is a very significant one indeed.

From the get-go, “Hamartia” sets out to build atmosphere with its opening intro track. But first the vocals. I would personally call them very well suited death metal vocals, very apt for this collection of songs. But as death metal vocal has become such a varied and nuanced slogan and really opens the end result to a variety of styles, it’s time to carefully name-drop. To put it short, you can expect the primary vocals along the same lines as DEICIDE’s Glen Benton and ABORTED’s Sven "Svencho" de Caluwé’s  growly moments. This is accompanied throughout with Moritz Paul’s high screams and clean vocals to add a little timbral variety. That is about as close as I can name-drop while staying as close to mainstream death metal as I can. But I would reiterate, Philipp Sorger has a great vocal style and is very well suited to TAUSENDSTERN.

The self titled track, “Hamartia”, persists the atmosphere built by the album intro with a fairly lo-fi approach to the production. It is evident from this first track alone that this album is not going to be full of short songs that cut to the point, more longer journeys across a range of musical devices. “Requiem” does not break the mold much in terms of its continuing atmospherics, building with that most very black metal of things, piano and crow sounds amidst a very doom-esque background pad. The only let down is the rather disjointed drumming which gives away an almost programmed feel and is a little distracting. I found the snare sound especially a little much. It’s a shame as the rest of the track progresses with some really tasty guitar interludes and ends in some rather bleak ENTRHONED-style atmospheric sections.

Thankfully, “Vater” is a far more accomplished musical journey. The textures generated here feel very natural as if the track has almost written itself. “Kreuzgang” continues the journey seamlessly and aims in a new trajectory introducing great dynamics in terms of tempo effortlessly. These two are by far the stand-out tracks here. “Tausendstern” brings the album to a close with some unsettling choice of introductory chordal arrangements. The clean vocal is used to excellent accompanying effect. Overall despite the slightly jarring faster sections, “Tausendstern” is a very fitting end to the musical journey.

TAUSENDSTERN have delivered an great first effort in “Hamartia” I don’t feel it’s the best work that the duo can achieve and some more evolution in terms of refining songwriting and utilizing the lo-fi nature of their production values to better effect could see a very well anticipated follow up. In cases like this, the lo-fi production lends itself well to atmosphere and it is here that TAUSENDSTERN have certainly excelled. As it stands, the drum programming does occasionally distract and the clashing chordal arrangements in places don’t quite sound convincing enough to earn TAUSENDSTERN a top mark in terms of review score. But what is here is compelling and very well worth a listen regardless. For me, “Vater” and “Kreuzgang” have most definitely earned their place in my car’s mp3 collection and for this I would say “Hamartia” is worth price of admission alone.

I would be very interested to see what the pair come up with as a follow up. So far, I see TAUSENDSTERN as a project that shows significant promise despite this debut missing the most very narrow of marks in places. For future I would suggest a little more time spent on drum production and if samples are in use, better selection or programming be used. While it’s all very well to demand a real drummer be on recordings, this is increasingly a fairly big demand to make in the 21st Century. I don’t find weakness in resorting to samples or drum programming unless it comes across as too noticeable.

But to speak positively, there is a lot to like here. Tracks don’t make it into my car’s MP3 collection easily and it is very obvious that some considerable undertaking has taken place with this album. And from a songwriting perspective, there is some excellent talent on display here. It just needs a small touch of refinement and evolution. Hence I would dare say this meeting of the minds could very well be explosive.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Offenbarung 6.10
2. Hamartia
3. Requiem
4. Vater
5. Kreuzgang
6. Tausendstern
Lineup:
Philipp Sorger - Concept, Lyrics, Vocals
Moritz Paul (aka Sumarbrander)– All Music, Guitars, Bass, High Screams, Clean Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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