NACHTBLUT - Vanitas (Album Review)


About The Band:

Vanitas is a term for still life paintings of the 17th century containing symbols of death pointing out that it is inevitable and the general futility of pleasure. It is also the title of the sixth album by German doomy gothic metal band Nachtblut (“night blood” in English). It is a fitting title for the music they perform which is dark but mixed with industrial and even death metal. Although just to confuse they also indulge in a little bit of folk metal as well. The band formed back in 2005 with their first self released album in 2007. Just after they released their second they were signed up by Napalm Records where they continue to be to this day. From my reading the singer, guitarist and drummer are all from the start with the bassist (and I believe) keyboardist from 2016. The album has 11 tracks which have a bit of variety about them keeping it interesting.

The Album, Songs Reviewed:

Singer Askeroth can go from that deep vocal of fellow countryman Till, the obvious comparison due to it being deep and German (I am sure German speakers will tell me how wrong I am due to accents etc) and up into the screaming high pitch of Dani Filth and all sorts of Norwegian death metal vocalists in-between. The lyrics are all in German but from google translate all seem suitably dark or disturbing. Like many bands, they start the album with a short opening musical passage (“Veritas“) that sounds like the start of a horror movie. The title track kicks in with a guitar riff that reminded me of the dance track “No Limits” by 2 Unlimited (it is a piece of cake to sing the chant along with this song) before becoming more symphonic. The chorus has a strong melody and there is a riff around it that seemed rather similar to “King” by Satyricon.

Lyre Children” (“Leierkinder“) goes into folk or Viking metal territory bringing Korpiklaani to mind if merged with a little Blackmore’s Night due to the classical vibe going on through it. There is a very nice bass section about three-quarters of the way through which certainly caught my ear. I am sure there is a children’s choir near the end as well. “The Dollhouse” (“Das Puppenhaus“) is very theatrical with sounds of what is a childhood wind up toy that chimes. It is equal parts threatening and playful. There is orchestration going on in the background, but whether it is just keyboards making them is hard to tell. This has another strong melody and also has a small section where there are crowds giving up cheers between the beats. Not sure what it all means but who cares when it sounds this much fan.

Nachtblut: The Band

Nachtblut: The Band

Cold Heart” (“Kaltes Herz“) is more industrial, mixing Rammstein riffage with Marilyn Manson creepiness. Vocally he hits some high squeals to waken the dead ala Dani Filth. Danceable industrial metal with vocal howls. “Only At Night” (“Nur In Der Nacht“) is the poppiest or most commercial track here and is in the vein of the type of thing Lordi does so well even with parping keyboards (like the 1980s never went away). Also keeping the 80s vibe going is “Pain & Sorrow” (“Schmerz & Leid“) which is pure synth-pop, or at least until it goes full metal on us.

My Cruelty Knows No Bounds” (“Meine Grausamkeit Kennt Keine Grenzen“) is up there for the best song on the album. It has a very deceptive genteel opening before becoming one of the heaviest songs. There is still plenty melody and anyone who likes a mix of Therion, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth should dig this track tremendously. There are some strong bass lines shining through and there is a sense of playfulness on what I assess is keys. I like the little additions, touches of sound effects etc giving even more enjoyment to the listening experience especially with headphones on! The other track battling (in my view anyway) of best track is the final song “Don’t Forget The Dead” (“Die Toten Vergessen Nicht“) which has a number of passages and styles within it. From a classical opening into a metal riff and going through a period of bierfest music (music to swing your arm back and forth whilst holding a beer), the track has a beautiful haunting vibe whilst also being utterly engaging. A terrific ending to a quality album.

Final Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed this album, the band can certainly write some strong melodies and are happy to try different styles making the experience more pleasurable. If you enjoy dark, industrial, gothic, symphonic, Viking metal then check these guys out for definite.

Released October 2 on Napalm Records!

Band Official Website / Band Official Facebook Page

Purchase on Amazon: USA / UK

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