Trautonist - Ember
Pest Productions
Post-black metal
7 songs (41' 17")
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Andy

Ember, post-black duo Trautonist's second LP, is all soft edges at first listen: Female vocals, hazily mixed guitar and keyboards, and all the black metal screams pushed far into the background. But it nonetheless has some sharp edges, and amid the pop prettiness of the tunes, the band doesn't forget they're making a metal album.

The dreamlike atmosphere prevalent on many post-black albums is especially pronounced here. Starting with a mid-tempo beat and speeding up to black metal style blastbeats, this is anything but a blackened sound, even with multi-instrumentalist Dennis's hardcore-style shrieks. Light suffuses the songs (and references to it suffuse the lyrics), with any details in the riffing buried under the heavily processed lead tremolo picking. To make it murkier, the drumming's even farther down in the mix than the vocals. Amid all this blurriness, the tremolo leads stands out, together with the still-blurry vocals of the project's clean vocalist, Katharina.

Some post-black projects are a one-man show, with the black metal parts, all the instruments, and the clean vocals being taken care of by one person. Trautonist puts all the clean vocal duties on Katharina, and her voice is an excellent match for the music: Soft, shoegazey, with the individual words virtually indistinct, with an upbeat, pop-oriented sound. The best track on the album, Smoke and Ember, has her lilting an almost Beatles-like tune over crunching chords with heavy bass, a more focused song than the rest of the track list. At the end, we have Woody Allen, which in keeping with its odd name, has a much different sound for the first minute or two of the song, with a sort of lounge-jazz keyboard intro.

This isn't a revolution in post-black atmosphere-creation, but it's a welcome evolutionary step. With a similar flavor to an Alcest album, Ember injects a heavier sound in between the lightness of both the tunes and the female vocals to make a nicely balanced album that can still appeal to metalheads.


Killing Songs :
Smoke and Ember, Hills of Gold
Andy quoted 78 / 100
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