Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Release: 10.04.2020 (Prophecy Productions)
You can get the album here: https://prophecy.lnk.to/perchta-ufang
Prophecy Productions were so nice to provide me with the album as a download version. Thanks a lot for that!
I don’t know how often I started writing this review, I lost count after the seventh time. Never before have I been confronted with an album that caused such a tremendous writer’s block for me. Not because it’s bad, on the contrary! The immense complexity of this musical debut by the Austrian Atmospheric-Black-Metal-Project Perchta is so overwhelming that I find it very hard to describe it. I will try anyway!
The basis of this album is the story of Perchta, an alpine mythological figure that comes down to earth for a limited amount of time and either punishes or rewards the people for their behavior.
This cycle of parturition of Perchta, her actions on earth and her subsequent perishment build the musical basis of this album, which is why it should be viewed as a holistic listening experience rather than a collection of songs.
In the beginning, the songs are hard and powerful and portray Perchta’s infernal rigor to the listener. The power is mirrored in the excellent syncrisis of the vocals and musical permutation. Fast tremoli meet foul sounding vocals that quite literally makes your blood freeze in your veins, much like the coldness of the alpine winter does. The listener is especially confronted with this narrative in the songs Erdn and Åtem. Despite all that it is not just dull thrashing music, but rather a musical complexity.
During the course of the album the vanishing of of Perchta’s power becomes more and more noticeable. The nasty vocals are slowly but steadily replaced by soulful singing and recitative parts which are enhanced by a very accomplished use of the cittern. The melodies are catchy and profound. Especially the song Wåssa, the longest song of the album with over 9mins duration, should be named in this context. In what can be described as a last act of rebellion against Perchta’s own fate, the song has some harder passages which are supported by the other instruments.
Towards the end of the album Perchta vanishes and ends this cycle. I personally have the feeling that this is not a vanishment in the sense of a permanent death, but rather a perishment and a reprieve from this force of nature. Perchta is more of a eternal cyclic figure than a one-time phenomenon. This makes sense insofar as the album is named Ufång which means „The Beginning“ (I think), and this would enable the band to provide more interpretations of this figure in future albums.
The different ethnic elements in combination with the black metal elements create an atmosphere that the listener can only gradually comprehend, but the love towards every little detail is still very noticeable and the complexity of the songs shows the vast musical know-how this band has. The listener can partake in a musical fairytale journey deep into the snowy alps of Tyrol and gets to know a figure that was unknown before, at least to me.
In that context, it is really a pity to me that I can’t have an insight into the lyrics that goes beyond fast reading in a lyric video. German is my mother tongue, but the dialect in which the lyrics are written is quite hard for me to understand. So sadly I can’t have closer look into this. There are some passages I do understand but it would not serve my cause if I were to pick some lyrics out of context and analyze them. Maybe I’ll do that once I get the physical copy of the album I ordered.
To draw a conclusion, I would have to say that Ufång is an experimental but exceptionally well done debut album by an ambitious Atmospheric-Black-Metal-Project. The mentality of listening and then immediately moving on may not be sufficient, but if a listener is really willing to divulge in it, then he or she will be rewarded with a fantastic listening experience. While listening, I experienced goosebumps, fright, melancholy and everything between and it was a real pleasure to be able to listen to it. I would absolutely recommend this album!