Orplid - Greifenherz
Auerbach Tonträger
NeoFolk, Ambient
14 songs (54:10)
Release year: 2008
Orplid, Auerbach Tonträger
Reviewed by Goat

Where some modern Folk bands are content to strum at their acoustic guitars and build full albums around that, Orplid are different. Influenced as much by the Neo-Industrial and Martial music scenes as the ‘new folk’ movement, this German duo keep the strumming to a minimum, backing tracks like Schwertgesang. Instead, this is Wagner as reimagined by Einstürzende Neubauten: epic and atmospheric synths, female wailing and militaristic drumming form the music whilst Frank Machau’s dignified German male vocals declaim over the top. Unlike some of their compatriots, however, Orplid are well aware of what works with this sound and what doesn’t, and so rather than attempting a kind of Laibach-styled wallow in extreme patriotism, the band constructs songs around what they have to work with, and it’s highly effective.

This seems to be what I always write about such music, and it is a horrific simplification, but you could best imagine Greifenherz as a non-aggressive, proggy Rammstein album, highlighting the atmospheric aspects of their sound over all. What will grab and hold your attention immediately on this album are the vocals. Although they’re all in German, the language barrier is soon overcome by the emotion apparent in Machau’s voice. He reflects upon ‘reflections of dreams about war, death and decay’ as the info sheet informs me, and never is his voice less than hypnotic, at once calming and stirring as the German language can so strangely be.

Brief snippets of wails from Sandra Fink (and actual singing on Totenesche and elsewhere) add a sinister Dead Can Dance feel and enhance the cinematic qualities present – this could well be a film soundtrack. Simply relaxing and listening to moments such as the strange clockwork sounds of the first untitled track (there are several) is an experience oddly like the last couple of Ulver releases and Ihriel’s Star Of Ash project – if you enjoyed the styles explored there, then I can recommend this. Experimental electronica such as the weird noises backing Myrmidonenklage work well with the orchestral aspects of the music, and Machau is skilled at writing music that draws you in – the stop/start meandering of Der Sperbers Geheimnis one example, never seeming to go anywhere but being a fantastic piece of music despite that. One song sure to get interest from the corpsepainted hordes out there is Traum von Blashyrkh, dedicated to Norwegian legends Immortal and styled around Fink’s mysterious croaked and sung vocals, catchy beats and those murmuring backing synths that always add an atmospheric punch when Black Metal bands deign to use them.

Don’t go in expecting some Blood Inside-esque cavalcade of chaotic intensity, though – this is in many ways an ambient record, and is best given your full attention. All the emotion and intensity present comes from the minimalist approach, and you need patience if you want to get to the bottom of this album. Second member Uwe Nolte deals exclusively with lyrics and visuals, which makes me think that hearing the album is only part of the Orplid experience. For what it is, however, Greifenherz is an excellent album that is deeper than many from the genre, and that lasts through repeated listens well.

MySpace (fanpage, contains samples from previous album)
Killing Songs :
Luzifer, Myrmidonenklage, Schlaf im Mohn, Traum von Blashyrkh, Falken-Eid II
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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