Genre: Black Metal
1. Ein Funke im Nichts
2. A Wolf in Chains
3. Frosty Stillhet
4. Hasses tiefe Trauer
5. Wächter des Bösen
6. Lucifer's Hymn
7. Im Schatten meines Eigenwahns - Part 2
Now this is the Skratte sound that immediately drew me into this band. Like "Kapitel 1" this is self-released, but as you can see from the track listing this is more a full-length than a demo. With the bonus 8th track you get nearly an hour of music with this one. "Kapitel 2", like the first, is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies and I own #22. Only the first 33 have the first the bonus 8th track, so I consider myself very lucky to have managed to get a copy early enough to hear all the music Hevnbrann made for this release.
To sum up "Kapitel 2" it's awesome! What a jump in quality in such a short amount of time. Everything has been improved. The guitars aren't nearly as fuzzy as the first recording and the mix is overall far more balanced between all the instruments. However, the most important quality jump is in the writing. From the very beginning we get some wonderful riffs all around on par with even the later Panphage releases in some parts. I might like some of what Panphage does just a little more, but wow is Skratte off to a majorly good start. If you want high quality raw Black Metal, then you are missing out if you skip out on checking this release. I first heard Skratte when a friend of mine shared teh track "Hasses tiefe Trauer" and I immediately needed to hunt this release down and get a copy for myself. The vocal performance is, all around, far better. There's a little less experimentation with high screams, but this is to my benefit really. I didn't like those much anyway. However, the overall vocal performance feels much colder and chilling this time around, which really compliments the music in a wonderful way.
"Kapitel 2" manages to conjure up a quality cold atmosphere throughout the experience and I really hope Hevnbrann can manage to keep up this level of quality. At this stage any improvements would be minor and I hope he can continue to curate his music even better to have only strongest riffs appear on future releases. I really can't wait to see what comes next!
Genre: Black Metal
2. Doch knisternd erlischt das Feuer
3. Misanthropic Hate
5. Im Schatten meines Eigenwahns - Part 1
I've only just discovered Skratte in 2016, but I was lucky enough to get a copy of the two releases currently available. I will be honest, I first heard material from "Kapitel 2" first, so going back to the first demo from 2013, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's usually rare for me to hear demo material in Black Metal today that really motivates me to get material right away. Usually, after a few releases I tend to find new bands, but not so with Skratte. This debut demo is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies of which I own #12. The first 33 copies are smeared with blood and as you can see from my scanned image, that is exactly what is all over my copy.
Skratte is a one man project out of Germany, despite having a Swedish band name. I feel like the quality of one man projects has been on the rise lately and Skratte is no real exception to that. "Kapitel 1" is also no exception to the rule when it comes to new projects and a musician trying to find their sound. Prior to this Hevnbrann did drums for another band Rabenholz and I must say the drum production on Skratte is far better. It feels a lot more organic and just sounds better overall.
"Kapitel 1" like a lot of first releases consists of quite a varied Black Metal experience. As usual Skratte is trying to fool around with all the influences that exist in today's Black Metal scene, so each track is fairly different with it's own realm of Black Metal. It is certainly well performed, but this material is nothing I haven't heard before. The demo opens with a very nice piano intro before launching into, probably, my favorite song on the demo "Doch knisternd erlischt das Feuer." Even though this song has some problems, it still manages to have some very strong riffs in it. My main issue had to do with the fact that some of the riffing didn't mesh well and the choked sections didn't bridge different passages together as well as they should have. "Misanthropic Hate" was a bit more cohesive in it's arrangement though, but it didn't have some of the really stellar riffs that stood out to me in the first track. The only major thing I didn't like in "Leblos" were the high-pitched screams. Sometimes these sound good for an extra texture, but too often gets in the way for me. It's similar in concept to the one Niege Éternelle song where they do something similar. The final track tries to fade the album out on a mostly clean guitar styled song. It was definitely an interesting choice against the rest of the album and it does seem to work pretty well. Usually these types of songs come off either very good or terrible, but Skratte managed to pull off a pretty good arrangement with this one.
Well, that's "Kapitel 1", and so far Skratte is off to a fairly good start. I'm, honestly, glad I heard the second release first, because if this was all I heard, I may not have been as interested in following the project. This is why I usually find a good release and then try to back track a discography.