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Ungfell - Es Grauet Award winner

Es Grauet
by Emily Schneider at 16 June 2021, 4:19 PM

UNGFELL hails from Zurich, Switzerland. The band mainly features multi-instrumentalist Menetekel, who enjoys some folklore and storytelling within this band's brand of Extreme/Black Metal music. With the project's third album “Es Grauet,” this one tells the story of how a rural medieval village is sent into chaos after the murder of one of their villagers. False accusations leads to more death and sorrow and it all spirals out of control. The way the music paints this tale of evil and despair is something truly intriguing.

The opening track sets the concept album off with quaint nature sounds, then a force breaks through it in a whirl of crashing sounds and horse hooves and bells. “Tyfels Antlits” has some pure 2nd wave Black Metal style riffs and some haunting choirs that truly paints the fear and chaos the village experienced when word spread of a mysterious murder.  “D Schwarzamslä” is a chilling and solemn instrumental of a death theme, played on an acoustic guitar and some violin plus some simple drums. It leads into “Mord im Tobel” with a cawing of crows and some low melodic riffs. The raw, evil vocals while exclaiming 'mord' (translates to death or die) is quite chilling. Not to mention the feeling of foreboding that happens in the middle of the song with the plucking on guitar strings and later, the layered vocals chanting away really added to the unease of the violent situation unfolding.

S Chnochelied” has some killer shred moments. There's a lot of whirling drums and the fast moving melodies create so much anxiety and urgency as you listen. The sounds of a stone prison at the 3 minute mark with some solemn guitar and later, clanking percussion that sounds like chains was such a cool interlude. You can truly imagine someone accused of a heinous crime they didn't commit despairing, and later, you can feel the anguish and fury of having to pay the price for someone else's sin by the end of the song.  “Stossgebätt” has some melancholy Folk energy with lots of acoustic instruments plus chanting vocals. It creates the illusion of a campfire doused with water, still smoking ashes whirling from the center.  “D Unheilspfaffä vom Heinzäbärg” kicks you right back into the menacing energy from the 4th track. Frantic low riffs at the beginning, then it falls into this hellish chanting bit that is both unnerving and intriguing. The 3 minute mark has some yodeling too, which somehow made it feel even more hair-raising. It soon becomes an awesome Extreme Metal paradise for the rest of the song. The evil is slain and it leads into the last track with purely layers of yodeled vocals and some pouring rain sounds to finish it all off.

Overall, UNGFELL has a truly interesting spin on modern Extreme Metal. They don't go the typical 'evil vocals, random shred moments, and an overload of in your face drums' route many bands in the genre do these days. Sure, there's an evilness portrayed in the vocals, but there's also an array of other emotions as well. You don't have to speak a word of Swiss German to understand what's happening in every song because of this along with the atmosphere building in the variety of instruments played on this album. (but no, it's not Atmospheric Black Metal) The music on “Es grauet” moves at a storyteller's pace. It builds urgency, fear, and conflicted amounts of grief at the perfect moments, so anyone listening can feel and understand this harrowing tale as it all unfolds. This isn't to say the album doesn't still totally shred at times, it does! There were still some cool moments that I could bang my head and enjoy the flurry of guitar hooks being thrown in my direction as it went. More reason to applaud this album, it's just the right amount of atmosphere, storytelling, and enjoyable listening moments all throughout.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Es grauet überm Dorf (Wie s niemert het chönne ahne)
2. Tyfels Antlitz (Wie e Huerä zwei Chind empfanget)
3. D Schwarzamslä (Wie us däne Goofe Pfaffä wärdet)
4. Mord im Tobel (Wie en hinterhältige Mord begange wird)
5. S Chnochelied (Wie e Beschuldigti gfoltered wird und Visione bechunnt)
6. Stossgebätt (Wie das Wyb als Häx hygrichtet wird)
7. D Unheilspfaffä vom Heinzäbärg (Wie Tod und Verdärbe uf das Dorf iistürzt)
8. S Fälsebräche (Wie s Böse begrabe wird)
Menetekel - Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Lyrics, Composition, Additional Instruments
Vâlant - Drums & Additional Percussion
Record Label: Eisenwald


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