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Klabautaman 'Smaragd' Review by Ivo Goyens



No idea how Klabautamann from Germany see themselves and seen that I am still in semi-holiday mode, I am going to be lazy and refer to them as a progressive metal band, If you start listening to the album, you will immediately notice a lot of of post and black metal influences. I can even pinpoint Alcest, ISIS (the band!) and even some Opeth.

But listen more closely to the song structures. There is definitely no shortage of riffs but the band doesn’t really do in choruses and hooks. The music is constantly changing and mutating but all in manner that feels natural. This is the sort of music that requires concentration, focus to be fully enjoyed. Maybe quite an effort for people with the attention span of a goldfish but in return the listener gets amazing, beautifully executed passages.

Obviously if you are going to make an ambitious record like that, you need to ensure that not only your music is top notch material but the sound quality of your recordings need to be pristine as well.
And that is definitely the case for “Smaragd”. The guitars have a great, clear and yet crunchy tone, the drums are not triggered to set off an entire minefield when the drummer as much as sneezes and behold, there is even audible bass! An actual bass guitar! Not this low, undefined rumble that is mixed all the way to the back and you can only hear it when you crank your subwoofer up to 11. And all the instruments ring through oh so wonderfully. The only thing that I find somewhat disappointing is that the clean vocals, especially in the opening song “Into Depression”, don’t really cut through in the mix and sound “dry”. I don’t hear any delay or reverb. Perhaps an artistic

choice but I love it when a clean, lush vocal sits nicely in the mix. The black metal voices on the other hand sound terrific and I can even make out what the singer is saying!
Since this is the kind of record for which you need to make time, I doubt that I would put this on very often but it has definitely made curious about Klabautamann’s live show.
Again, fans of Alcest and ISIS with a comfy sofa and a pair of Sennheiser headphones will dig this.

For all your couch potato needs:

https://klabautamann.bandcamp.com/album/smaragd


- Ivo VirusWithShoes - 

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