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Trautonist - Ember

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 April 2018, 1:23 PM

From Germany, comes the sophomore effort of Post-Black/Shoegaze duo known as TRAUTONIST. The name of the band comes from an old musical instrument called a “trautonium.” “Ember” contains seven tracks, and the theme is “a symbolism for intrinsic personal impulses that define what they are.” The album was mixed and mastered by Markus Siegenhort, and the cover art designed by Marcela Bolivar.

“Fire and Ember” enters like a melancholic rock track, with a groovy and easy listening riff, and subdued vocals. Like a warm breeze on a care-free day, you don’t see the path ahead turning dark until it is upon you. A connecting passage starts you down that path, leading to agonizing Black Metal vocals. Even amidst some of the darkness, peaks of light remain. “Vanish” is eight minutes of depressive Black Metal fused with ambient melodies and that constant struggle between good and bad. Anger is firmly rooted in the vocals but the instrumentation seems largely unaware. “The Garden” has a harrowing entrance; hasty at first and then settles into a groove. The clean vocals and atmospheric passage bring an ethereal element to the Shoegaze sound. Overall, very charming and alluring.

“Smoke and Ember” is the shortest on the album, at just over three minutes. The guitars echo off of distant mountains, filling the space in between with warmth. It moves slowly, and dials up some doleful tones. “Hills of Gold” is five minute in length. Inviting and easy listening at first, it turns more threatening with a more aggressive change of pace marked with harsh vocal screams. They seem to come from deep within; a last calling out if you will. “Sunwalk” is the longest track, at eight minutes. For much of the song, it sways gently. The harsh vocals of course bring an edge to it, but they don’t last very long. The sublime clean guitar passage is exquisite; a secluded place at the far end of where the sun beams touch the earth.

There has to be a story behind the namesake closing song “Woody Allen.” Soft keyboard notes ring out like bells, with the gentle sway of light percussion. The tones are mostly positive until the final push of the second half of the track. Culminating in repugnance, it is a reminder of how quickly your consciousness can change. Overall, this was a good listening experience. I found more Post-Black and Shoegaze elements than anything else, but the Black Metal bite was still present, seemingly right when it needed to be. The album has a great balance though, as these things are blended into a cohesive sound that leaves some emotions up to the individual listener, making for a very personal experience.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Fire and Ember
2. Vanish
3. The Garden
4. Smoke and Ember
5. Hills of Gold
6. Sunwalk
7. Woody Allen
Dennis – All instruments, Vocals
Katharina – Vocals
Record Label: Wolves and Vibrancy Records


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