EIKENSKADEN — The Black Laments Symphony (review)

EIKENSKADEN — The Black Laments Symphony album cover Album · 2001 · Melodic Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
EIKENSKADEN is one of the many projects of Stefan Kozak of Metz, France. Other bands he has been involved with are Azerlath, Bolverk and Mystic Forest, the latter of which is what began this project in 1998 after that one ended. Mystic Forest only really got to the demo phase of band projects by the time this one was formed but continued in conjunct with this one. EIKENSKADEN has released four albums to date before truncated the moniker to simply SKADEN. This debut album THE BLACK LAMENTS SYMPHONIE came out in 2001.

Kozak’s interest in EIKENSKADEN was to create a more theatrical classical take on the black metal sound. The usual black metal elements are found in abundance such as tremolo picked guitar riffs, heavy buzzsaw distortion and raspy unintelligible lyrics screamed from under the din along with energetic deliveries that offer blastbeats and raging fury however the chaos is channeled with the order of neoclassical underpinnings which offer a much more melodic black metal experience than the average pissed off second waver.

The project consists of only two members. Kozak plays all the usual instruments which includes guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and piano and Gabriel “Gaabh” Palmieri plays only the lead guitar solos which there are plenty of. In addition to the relentless black metal bombast are soaring atmospheric melodies and introspective moments were classical piano rolls are left in solitude to conjure up a lugubrious melancholy. There are also doomy slower riffs that allow power chords to sustain while a lazy percussive backbeat allows the atmospheric wailing of the lead guitar to slink up and down spaced out musical scales.

While Kozak’s other band Mystic Forest was focused more on atmospheric constructs complete with female vocal parts, EIKENSKADEN is completely dedicated to thick noisy black metal that is married with neoclassical melodic compositional approaches which proves that the black metal aisle of the metal supermarket is the most adaptable to almost anything thrown at it. It almost always sticks and the infusion of Chopin piano chops and progressively infused guitar wails work quite well despite stealing a little thunder from the scary aspects that the genre can muster up.

Second wave black metal purists only interested in Satanic ritual music or evil as fuck bombast will probably hate this as much as Dimmu Borgir gets trashed but if you don’t mind an interesting mix of something that may resemble Symphony X more than Darkthrone at least in melodic flow then this isn’t a bad album at all. There’s enough black metal darkness to keep this from being too cheery but at the same time this style of music will never come close to be tagged depressive black metal either. A very cool hybrid but in the end not really enough variations in the album overall to make it absolutely essential either. This is an interesting album indeed that sits somewhere in between.
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