ALBUM: Nebelung- “Paligenesis”
LABEL: Temple of Torturous
RATING: 8.0 / 10
When I browsed through the list of January’s available releases and I blindly decided to pick Nebelung I assumed that I would be reviewing some epic, wagnerian inspired, power metal band…possibly even exclusively composed by hairy dwarves.
I guess this review will teach me not to make stupid assumptions solely based on band names.
In any case, the real Nebelung is a project born in the autumn of 2004, when two german friends decided to start composing music inspired by the mystique surrounding the relationship between man and nature. The word “Nebelung” is apparently an ancient german term for “November”. For those of us living in Scandinavia, that month encapsulates perfectly the mood and tone that the band wants to set with their music.
“Palingenesis” is a late autumn/winter record. Just like similar acts within the Darkfolk genre, (Tenhi or Vàli comes to mind), Nebelung play extremely melancholic music that works best as soundtrack for the darker and colder months of the year.
The tracks on this release share a similar pattern. Using delicate and droning melodies from classical and steel stringed guitars as a base, the band builds long, layered pieces that work in the form of mantras. Austerity and unpretentiousness are a constant in this songs, but they are, by no means, simple songs. There is great attention to detail and an obvious fondness for the material. After all, the record has been 3 years in the making and given the time to develop and ripe. The guitars are often accompanied by a variety of acoustic instruments such as cello, accordion, glass harp or percussion. Even if the record is mostly instrumental, short, recited vocal passages can be heard in some of the tracks. They are always subtle, almost whispered and often slightly buried into the mix so that the listener won’t get pulled away from the trance created by the music. Nebelung‘s effort to portray the cyclical nature of the seasons translates well into their songs. The inevitability, transformation, decay and regeneration that impregnates life is very present in the songwriting, making “Palingenesis” organic, human and approachable.
Even so, this is still strongly melancholic, introspective music. It requires dedication, time and a certain mood (and weather!) to be fully enjoyed. The length of the tracks and the slow tempo might prove challenging for some listeners, but this is all in service of the trance-like, meditative nature of the album and it´s essential to the listening experience.
In “Palingenesis”, Nebelung has produced a touching, beautiful piece of instrumental folk that goes directly to my winter music playlist. And best of all…completely dwarf free.
Review by: WN