Monday, September 7, 2015


Kältetod - Lawra Nihil
Eternity Records, 2018
Genre: Black Metal

1. Lawra
2. Nihil
3. Lawra (Instrumental)
4. Nihil (Instrumental)

It's been a little while since the release of "Zwang" and I confess that I did not run out and immediately buy "Zwang". I sampled it and didn't feel it was similar to "Reue" so I put it on the back burner for a bit. I eventually got it and I did enjoy the album, so when I saw the post that a new cassette was out I purchased a copy as soon as possible. With this release they've returned to the old tradition of numbering the releases, but not disclosing how many copies will exist and I own #27. It comes with a pro-printed tape insert that only has the cover on one side and the lyrics on the other.

The music on here is great! It's a bit of a continuation of what we heard on "Zwang" and it has that sorrowful atmosphere that I love hearing from Kältetod. Each song runs about eight minutes long so even though there are two songs be prepared for a good journey in the realm of Kältetod. I think one of the interesting things about the newer material is how much faster it is compared to the earlier stuff. It definitely helps in creating that wall of sound feel for this particular brand of Black Metal. "Nihil" has some of that extremely epic feeling riffing that I love hearing. It's got that soaring quality that didn't show up as much as I wanted on "Zwang". I'd love to hear him work on more songs that are similar to "Nihil". In the end this is a brilliant two song release and I'm really glad I got it. I really hope this is a sign that the project becomes a little more active, because I certainly look forward to anything that will be produced. If you've been a fan I think these are a couple must hear songs.

Kältetod - Zwang
Eternity Records, 2015
Genre: Black Metal

1. Δz
2. Zwielichttortur
3. Durch verbrannte augen
4. Leidenstreue

It's been five years since Kältetod have produced anything and this release came out entirely unexpected for me. One day the bands activity suddenly perked up again and I rushed to hear a sample of the new material. Sadly I didn't immediately fall in love with it, so it took me a few years to finally get a copy of this release. As with the other releases this is pressed on digipak format and limited to some number of copies and I own #38. Strangely there's no pressing limitation mentioned on the release... just the hand-numbered "038".

Given how much I loved "Reue" and I just want to hear more material like that "Zwang" didn't capture my imagination immediately. I was greatly looking forward to this album because "Reue" is one of my all time favorite releases, so I was wondering if a five year break would bring Kältetod back to something truly amazing. If you're expecting something similar to the Kältetod of before, then you might be surprised to hear a pretty different feel with the "Zwang" album. "Zwang" is much more aggressive sounding album and it sort of lacks that melancholic majesty of the earlier material. The riffing feels more vicious and direct. At times we get moments of the more atmospheric passages during some of the breaks and transitions amidst the aggression, but for the most part this sounds very different from the earlier material. It's not necessarily a bad different, as I'm not convinced they'll ever advance on "Reue", so going for a different approach makes sense. In this we only get four songs and the album is only a little over a half hour long, so I'm hoping R. is feeling the inspiration to get back into writing and releasing music again.

The production value has been improved upon quite a bit from the other releases. The whole engineering of this album feels a lot more balanced. The raspy distorted vocals are nicely in the background, giving the guitars a much more in your face presence. The only major complaint I have is with the programmed drums. The arrangements are, mostly, uninspired and feel like they're there just to have drums or to generally keep time. I really think R. should contact a real drummer to work with. Hell I would do it for free because his music is usually that good and I imagine there are others out there that feel similarly.

I think if you take a step back and don't think too hard about Kältetod's back catalog you'll find some enjoyment in "Zwang". I kind of wish I had given it more of a chance when it was first released, because it is still a good album with some really excellent riffing. I just wish the drum arrangements weren't so monotonous, because some of these riffs really are quite excellent and I enjoy the entire album as a whole! So, if you've been a long time fan of the project, "Zwang" is another solid installment, it's just a little different compared to the earlier material.

Kältetod - Talpfade
Eternity Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Talwärts
2. Treibend
3. Fluten
4. Urnen

Released at the same time as "Reue" is the vinyl only LP "Talpfade". As with "Reue" its also limited to an undisclosed amount and pressed in multiple colors. I have the Grey vinyl with #75. When "Leere" was repressed in 2010 only Side A of "Talpfade" made it into the Appendix section, which does make me a little sad and I would like to see this full album get the CD treatment... someday perhaps.

If you think "Talpfade" feels a little more primitive than "Reue" you'd be right. While the composition happened around the same time as "Reue" and thus being post-"Leere" the quality is quite high, but its still has an older feel closer to "Leere" because the recording took place between 2004 and 2005. So, production wise, it's a little closer to "Leere", whereas "Reue" is a much newer recording and has a much stronger presence. I wonder if these tracks are just something R. didn't feel really fit inside the space that is "Reue", although I would argue that moments of "Talwärts" would certainly fit. In fact the track could probably be re-worked with different riffs and become quite an immense piece of art. "Trebend" is just as wonderful as "Talwärts" and it has moments that really engage the listener. The B-side is a little different, and perhaps why it was not released in the "Leere" appendix. "Fluten" actually has a bit more of an Ambient Black Metal flair with the use of keyboards in the background. "Fluten" also drones a lot more and even has a slower pacing than our usual Kältetod experience. "Urnen" is, once again, a bit different in scope. The opening feels a bit like my favorite track from "Reue", but then segues into a really crushing rhythm section, before returning to the more beautiful chord structuring.

As you can see "Talpfade" has quite the myriad of experiences for listeners. "Reue" still stands above this release, but the B-Side of this album is on par with Side-A, so I really do hope those tracks will be put on CD someday.

Kältetod - Reue
Eternity Records, 2010
Genre:  Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Vor Entflammten Erinnerungen
3. Zermürbt Durch Reue
4. Nur vom Eiswind noch Getragen
5. Das Lächeln der Verwesung
6. In die Glut der Weltenseele
7. Grau in Grau

Here we finally have the proper follow-up to "Leere" with "Reue". From just looking at the cover this feels like a far more thought out Kältetod and "Reue" really manages to deliver the feeling to complement the artwork. This is limited to an undisclosed amount, but still hand-numbered and I own #505.

I was fairly fortunate to be rather late to the Kältetod game. I think if I had just heard "Leere" I wouldn't have been so enamored with the project. In fact, I may not have tried "Reue" based on my past experiences unless a friend really insisted I do so. However, I first experienced Kältetod with the song "Nur vom Eiswind noch Getragen" and I was immediately taken aback by how incredible the songwriting was. "Reue" stands as a solid masterpiece in Kälatetod's discography and it really stands out as one of the finer Atmospheric albums in the Black Metal genre. I really can't say enough good things about this release and it is certainly in the top 10 for the year.

While Kältetod's vocals have never been particular great, and "Reue" is no exception, I find the overall composition overshadows this quite a bit. Even though my favorite song "Nur vom Eiswind noch Getragen" stands out as the lone slow and somber track, the rest are fast paced with chord structuring and riffing that is truly stellar. R. manages to make such an immense and emotive reaction with his writing, so much more than he ever had before. According to the liner notes, this album was composed between 2004 and 2006, then recorded between 2007 and 2009. These may seem like a long time to create 40+ minutes of music over seven songs, but if you're demanding ultra high-quality this is what it takes. "Reue" is a truly beautiful experience and if you're a fan of the Atmospheric Black Metal scene I think "Reue" can stand as a testament to high quality writing. Some people may find the vocals a little bland, but I'm hoping they can see past that and really pay attention to the music with the way a lot of this riffs are crafted.

In the end, I hold "Reue" as one of the top releases in the genre, and while I 've only been listening to Kältetod for a few years now, I've noticed "Reue" is in constant rotation when it comes to my listening happens. A truly amazing piece of art, one I'm rather skeptical if R. could ever outdo.

Kältetod - Verstummt, Erblindet, Verdorrt, Erfroren
Raging Bloodlust Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Verstummt und Erblindet
2. Verdorrt und Erfroren
3. Willens Ende
4. Vom Horizont im tal der Schmerzen

The follow-up to "Leere" is this 12" EP, which I missed out on getting when it was released. Now, I'm not complaining because it afforded me the opportunity to wait until a CD version was released in 2008. The version I have a CDr limited to 222 hand-numbered copies and I have #104. The additional bonus is the fourth track which was originally released on the split 7" with Regnum from 2004.

The first thing you'll notice is that the musical quality isn't even close to on par with the split that just came out or "Leere". I was kind of surprised about this until I bothered to look at the liner notes. All of this music was composed between 2001 and 2003. In fact there's a promo tape from 2003 called "Trümmer" and all three songs can be found on there. So, if you were looking for an advancement of the "Leere" sound, then you'll be pretty disappointed. This EP's music really sits in the space between the two demo tapes and the release of "Leere". It's definitely a lot better than the demos, but the production quality is fairly similar to the tapes. The bonus track steps the production quality up a little bit, but definitely feels like a precursor to "Leere".

So, if you were expecting something that grew the sound founded on "Leere" you might be disappointed, but if you were curious what Kältetod sounded like in its early formation, then this is a great historical representation. The songs are a little better than those found on the demo tapes, but they're all pretty closely related. Still the demo tapes had moments that were quite stellar by comparison.

Veineliis & Kältetod Split
Ashen Productions, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

1. Son of Angurboda
2. Without Mortal Agony
3. Deserted Rooms of Concrete
Aus Trümmern...
4. I) Erwachen, II) Wahmehmung
5. III) Reflexion, IV) Erinnerung
6. V) Erkenntnis, VI) Erheben
7. VII) Suche, VIII) Reflexion II

Side Veineliis: ...coming eventually...
Side Kältetod:

I missed out on Kältetod's first split with Regnum, but I managed to get a copy of this. I actually have the CD edition of this pressed in 2008 by Temple of Torturous. It comes as a very hard cardboard digipak, similar to Spectral Lore's "I". I'm not really a fan of this packaging, it's kind of weak and the CD isn't really in a tray.

"Aus Trümmern..." Sort of picks up where "Leere" has left off, but it has a bit more depth to it. The composition is even more emotive than "Leere" even was. The whole work is far more cohesive, which makes sense since it's supposed to convey a single concept. Sometimes some of the passages can delve into a little bit of monotony, but overall this is an excellent work and I really like the direction Kältetod is heading at with this material. R. is starting to play with guitar layering a lot more overtly and the interplay between the layers creates an extremely strong atmosphere. The overall riffing is much stronger and I really look forward to what Kältetod might work on next, considering the direction this project is taking.

Kältetod - Leere
Westwall Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Wiederhall der Leere
3. Kältetod
4. Von Vertrauter Vergänglichkeit
-. Hypnos
Appendix: Talpfade (2010)
5. Talwärts...
6. ...Treibend

Here it is, Kältetod's legendary debut. It was originally released by Westwall Productions in 2005, but I missed out on that one. Perhaps I will pick up the original someday, because my repress by Eternity Records from 2010 is missing the "Hypnos" track. However, there were two major reasons to buy the repress, which are that it's a remastering of "Leere" and as a bonus we get two tracks from the
"Talpfade" album on CD. Prior to this "Talpfade" was only on vinyl and while I would prefer all of "Talpfade" on CD, I'll take two tracks over zero tracks. The repress is a beautiful digipak edition and limited to an undisclosed amount of hand-numbered copies, of which I own #417. The updated layout and cover brings the album more in line with the art direction of "Reue" and the other releases.

Compared to the demo material, I think "Leere" is, at times, a bit of a step back. "Leere" seems to focus more on the raw chord structuring and droning elements of sawing away at the guitar to create that sort of expansive experience as we engage the length of the songs. Sure, the album is broken up with some picked chords only driving a solid atmosphere home for us and those moments are wonderful. There is also some keyboard synth elements briefly at times and this only enhances our experience with the extra layer. However, some of those really spectacular atmospheric lead guitar moments found on the demo are few and far between on the debut. "Leere" keeps things simple for us, which is why it probably still sits in that transitory time of Depressive Black Metal and most people put "Leere" into that category. However, I think "Leere" arrived at a time when the typical trappings of DSBM were evolving and a lot of bands moved into the realms of Atmospheric Black Metal, which Kältetod almost certainly did with their later releases. "Leere" itself is a wholly different experience from what I hear from the top genre definers of DSBM, "Leere" isn't an agonizing experience, it's more beautiful and melancholic, which is why its sort of sitting somewhere on the fringe of the two genres, before R. takes a full plunge into the Atmospheric genre.

I'm kind of surprised Hypnos was removed the re-release, since it's a really wonderful song. I think some of the riffs or the song itself got re-arranged later on "Reue" though... something about it seems extremely familiar.It is sort of a strange song and very different compared to the other tracks, especially with the breaks with the bass guitar only playing. Either way, I'm still pretty happy to have the "Talpfade" material on CD, even if there is a pretty big difference in the maturity level when it comes to the writing style. I think some of the "Talpfade" concepts are pretty old, but the overall arrangement is a much more exciting experience than "Leere".

While "Leere" is still the beginning stages for what Kältetod would become, the debut album is still pretty solid. At times it's a little overly droney and can have boring moments, but this is still a solid foundation and backdrop for what will eventually come.

Kältetod - Trümmer
Self-Released, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Trümmer Frühjahr: 2003
1. Willens Ende
2. Verstummt und erblindet
3. Verdorrt und erfroren
4. Hünengrab im Herbst (Nagelfar cover)
Trümmer Sommer: 2004
5. Talpfade
6. Wiederhall der Leere
7. Hypnos

I managed to track down an old promo tape that included material from 2003/2004. It's impressive to see how much Kältetod had created in such a short span of time. This is a tape only release and I have no idea how many copies exist but I own #18. It comes with a little booklet printed on computer paper of a nice landscape and some information on when the tracks were recorded.

Musically the compositions are a lot more refined compared to the original two demo tapes, in my opinion. I think if I had heard just the first two demos I wouldn't have been as interested in the project, but if I heard this tape it would really pique my interest quite a bit. The writing is really well done, sorrowful, yet majestic all in one epic feeling package. The riffs sore, yet drone on in a relaxing fashion making it one of the finer experiences around for listening to Black Metal. A lot of these songs have wound up on future recordings, which were probably re-recorded in a better setting than this demo quality. Even the later versions maintained their raw nature. The only track that is only available on this demo is the Nagelfar cover, which he has done an exceptional job on. It's rare to see people covering Nagelfar songs, so I was very pleased to see this on the demo.It's interesting that some of these songs like "Talpfade" took quite a while before they saw the light of day on a release. "Talpfade" is still one of the best songs around by Kältetod and I love hearing it everytime I come across it. That opening riff is just so well done.

In the end we get quite the taste of the Kältetod future on this tape. It's easily over an hour long of music and it's a really intense journey to experience all the way through. This material covers multiple albums where the tracks eventually found a home, but it's interesting to see they were all written this long ago. I'm glad this material served as future motivation and it looks like Kältetod created the core of the sound I love while putting this promo together.

Kältetod & Regnum Split
Nightfog Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Vom horizont im Tal der Schmerzen
2. Die bange Nacht...

Side Regnum: ...coming eventually...
Side Kältetod:

For some reason I stayed away from this 7" for quiet a while and for whatever reason I thought this song was re-released on a later release, but upon closer inspection it wasn't, so I tracked down a copy to add to my collection. Since, I really want to have everything from Kältetod whether I like it or not. This is really the very first official release from this project and it's a spit on 7" vinyl limited to 400 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #47.

The Kältetod song on here is a lot more in line with the demo material. It's somewhat atmospheric, but it's not as atmospheric as what Kältetod would later do in their style. It's far more rhythmic than I was expecting, but you can hear touches of moving towards a more atmospheric concept around the riffing.  Since this is so early the song is also extremely raw in its production value, which I sorted of expected after their demo material. Unfortunately, like their demos I'm not sure this song has a lot of replay value in the grand scheme of things. It's an okay song and it's a stepping stone on the way to the glorious project Kältetod would eventually become. If you're a fan of the project, I would say you shouldn't feel too disappointed about not having this material.

Kältetod - Von Kerken und Ruinen
Self-Released, 2004
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Aus des Kerkers Stille Atmend
2. Erst im Untergange ewig
3. Im Zweiten Grabe
4. Vor Ruinen
5. In der Kakophonie toter Träume

Kältetod is a band I found a few years ago and somehow sadly missed out on the material as it was being released, but it has grown to be one of my favorites. I actually listen to, at least one, of their albums very frequently, which means I really am curious about their back catalog. Like many people out there, I missed out on the original two Kältetod demos "Aus Kerken..." and "Aus Ruinen..." both from 2003, but I was extremely lucky to get my hands on this demo compilation limited to an undisclosed number. However, they are hand-numbered and I have #99. It comes packaged in a strange CD box with xeroxed booklet and cover. There isn't too much to the booklet though, as I kind of expected. I do kind of want the original tape versions, simply for my archives and enjoyment of this very good band.

The track layout is a little odd for this release. The first and last tracks are from the first demo "Aus Kerken" and the interior three are from the second demo "Aus Ruinen..." The even stranger thing is that there's a sixth track listed, at least I think it's a track title, "Durch Laubes Fall und Rebels Schleier" and it makes me wonder if this was supposed to be a bonus track that, for whatever reason, never made it onto the disc.

Kältetod's first two demos are pretty primitive and they have some objectively serious problems. One of which the drums are so low in the mix their nearly inaudible. They're clearly programmed and perhaps that is why R. has pushed them to the back of the mix. His vocal work is merely okay, it is nothing special and certainly nothing exciting. However, the guitar arrangements are extremely strong. With the demo material you can hear some layered sections with leads and certain other passages that hint at the glory that Kältetod will eventually become. However, these incredible passages sit amidst a rather typical tried and true style of raw Black Metal sawing away at rather droning chords. It works, but you can tell the material is still in its primitive stages, it even sounds like some of the stronger riffing on her wound up on future full-lengths, which is a very good thing. I, kind of, wish other bands would do this, where picking apart strong moments on a demo found a better setting someplace else.

So, if you're as enamored with the Kältetod sound as much as I am, then this is certainly worth hearing. Thus I have linked below an upload of the full recording on youtube, since this is so limited. It's nice to see the limitations the band had to overcome over the years. In fact its really exciting to listen to this and realize how much the project grew over the years.

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