Review: Von Thronstahl - Sacrificare (2007)


artist: Von Thron­s­tahl
release: Sac­ri­fi­care
format: CD, CD-Box
year of release: 2007
label: Cold Spring
dur­a­tion: 71:19

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Sac­ri­fi­care is the latest album of Ger­man Von Thron­s­tahl. I must con­fess I do not know the band well. The few tracks that I’d heard didn’t impress me, and the right-winged repu­ta­tion of Josef K. didn’t exactly pull me into fur­ther invest­ig­at­ing the pro­ject. But, to be fair, this also means that I haven’t really researched the band, and when I got this album, I decided to give it a thor­ough going-over, to see if my ini­tial impres­sion was jus­ti­fied.

What we hear on this record is neo­folk with some influ­ences of rock, pop and mar­tial, remind­ing me strongly of Death in June and, here and there, Laibach (in par­tic­u­lar the clearly tongue-in-cheek tracks, like “Dressed in Black Uni­forms”). This is imme­di­ately the biggest down­side of the band, in my opin­ion; I would have pre­ferred to hear a stronger own sound. To be frank, I’m begin­ning to tire of all these end­less imit­a­tions (well done or not) of bands that made this kind of music twenty years ago, when it was still fresh and innov­at­ive. How­ever, if you can’t get enough of it, I can say that the musical qual­ity on this album gen­er­ally ranges from decent to very well done (I’ll get back to this), and that it sounds fine in terms of per­form­ance and pro­duc­tion. The art­work is also nicely done.

Because this is a rather long CD, I’ll dis­cuss a few tracks that I noticed in par­tic­u­lar for some reason. “Molti Piu Onore” is really a quite irrit­at­ing, yet catchy track, with among other things a strong poppy beat, vague choir, trum­pet, vocals, and gui­tar. “Gloomy White Sunday” is one of the bet­ter tracks. Quite atmo­spheric, but because of the acous­tic gui­tar and metal­lo­phone, it’s quite remin­is­cent of Death in June, some­thing which is also true of “Mother of Mercy (ver­sion)”. We hear a very nice gui­tar melody on “Berg-Einsamkeit”, a calm song that appeals to me. “The Four Horse­men of the Apokalypse” is a fun and catchy track, the melody of which is taken from an older track by Aphrodite’s Child. It’s a bit long for my taste, though, as is “Ganz In Weiss Und Ganz In Eisen”, and again the ‘gui­tar ‘n’ bells’ sound in the former track remind too much of Death in June. Fur­ther­more, I don’t think Josef K.‘s vocals are con­sist­ent every­where. They fit a track like “Gloomy White Sunday”, but they irrit­ate me in some­thing like “Undefini­erbare Sehn­sucht”, but this is more a mat­ter of taste.

Well, I sup­pose it must be clear what my main point of cri­ti­cism is… A few nice tracks, but never really ori­ginal. If this doesn’t bother you, and you can’t get enough of neo­folk in the vein of Death in June, there’s noth­ing wrong with buy­ing this album. How­ever, if you are, like me, more inter­ested in hear­ing innov­a­tion in the already sat­ur­ated neo­folk scene, you’d bet­ter let this one pass by.

Reviewed by D.M.K.

Track­list:

1. The Age Of Decay And Demo­crazy (5:17)
2. Molti Piu Onore (4:24)
3. Gloomy White Sunday (6:39)
4. Occi­dental Iden­tity (5:22)
5. Ganz In Weiss Und Ganz In Eisen (8:03)
6. Dressed In Black Uni­forms (4:24)
7. Mother of Mercy (Ver­sion) (4:23)
8. Dum­nezeu Exista / God Exists (1:24)
9. Sac­ri­fi­care (4:18)
10. Palästina (HEP Ver­sion) (3:33)
11. Undefini­erbare Sehn­sucht (4:49)
12. Berg-Einsamkeit (4:47)
13. The Four Horse­men Of The Apokalypse (7:11)
14. Gloomy White Sunday (Ver­sion) (6:45)

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