Underground Sounds: Tarnkappe – Winterwaker

Label: Hammerheart Records
Band: Tarnkappe
Origin: Netherlands

Black metal as a genre has been wildly progressive in the last few years and though some say it burned out, the embers are being fanned into new flames again. Nonetheless, there are those bands who bring you back to the essence of the genre. Tarnkappe is one of those and they do it very, very well on this second full length by the northerners.

With members in their ranks from bands like Gheestenland, Krocht, Asregen and Kjeld, you sure have some quality. The word Tarnkappe comes from a German word for a magic cloak. Pretty cool huh? Also pretty cool is the black and white album cover, the menacing Teutonic font and overall classic black metal feel. It’s a bit like back to the Darkthrone days of yore, when black metal was simple and evil.

That grim and frosty sound is definitely present in the ever continuing blast beats and static riffing. Tarnkappe rarely aims to show of their musical prowess, but works industrious on a continuous tapestry of thick woven riffs and beats into e freezing blanket of sound. On ‘ Aan De Aarde Gebonden’ we even get some of that black metal swing, with those evil sounding riffs and lingering passages giving room for the vocals. It’s really the feeling of the nineties that the band evokes on this amazing record. A continuous, grim sounding rain of sound with some very well placed atmospheric parts. I suppose a bit like the second wave of bands from the Norwegian scene like Gorgoroth. A sound much more measured and condensed.

The record seems to be misunderstood at times by reviewers, seeing the cohesive, tight record as a bit too controlled and organized. I think that’s exactly where it draws its strength from. With nature as an overlying theme, that natural order and harmony is translated into the music giving it a controlled and managed sound. It’s a different sort of order, but much more beautiful. This is what makes them stand out so much. There’s a majesty without glamour or shine to the sound. which is the way nature is considered beautiful. ‘Kale vlakten, desolatie’ is perhaps the most exemplifying song of that, with slow, thick riffs. A bit of an Enslaved-like grandeur in the heavy, sludgy sound even. This is black metal the way you love it and want it.

 

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