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Nicht Um Zu Sterben

Dornenreich - Nicht Um Zu Sterben ©1997 CCP Records
1. Hasses Freigang
2. In Die Nacht
3. Verlorenes Gefunden, Gefundenes Empfunden
4. Schlaflos Träumend
5. Im Flatternden Schleier Der Vergänglichkeit
6. Und Wie Ein Kind In Deiner ...
7. Durch Die Schluchten Der Kälte
8. Hofesfest

Dornenreich's debut showed the promise of a young black metal band who so happened to be offering a sound very similar to their Austrian countrymates, Abigor. While Dornenreich was no doppelganger, Nicht um zu Sterben definitely has many familiar overtones and techniques that their more well known counterparts utilize. From the high end, trebly production and complex guitar appoaches to the essential cream center within the music's tough outer shell, Dornenreich shows many tendencies that suggest there is truly an Austrian black metal trademark sound at work. Much of the album sticks to a fairly basic format. The songs are generally speedy with high end guitar lines slithering around, with occasional breaks into lush acoustics and piano works. The vocals are standard black metal issue, something apparently handed out en masse in Austria, and hopefully with throat drops.

For the most part, Dornenreich's debut is something Abigor fanatics should search out. As with Abigor, there is a sterile coldness that keeps me from enjoying the album as much as others, but it is a fairly impressive debut demonstrating a wealth of talent in the young band.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2001

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Her Von Welken Nächten

Dornenreich - Her Von Welken Nächten ©2000 Prophecy Productions
1. Eigenwach
2. Ich Bin Aus Mir
3. Wer Hat Angst Vor Einsamkeit?
4. Grell Und Dunkel Strömt Das Leben
5. Innerwille Ist Mein Docht
6. Hier Weht Ein Moment
7. Schwarz Schaut Tiefsten Lichterglanz
8. Trauerbrandung
9. Mein Publikum - Der Augeblick

Dornenreich is an Austrian outfit who should appeal to that small demographic of folks who thought Celtic Frost's best moment was on "Danse Macabre" from Morbid Tales or think that Bethlehem is a warm, fuzzy band. This odd trio utilizes a black metallish assault peppered with occasional moments of softer interludes, not terribly dissimilar from fellow countrymen Abigor. With vocals that range from tortured whispers to chanting to shrieks of horror, there is little chance anyone will confuse this outfit with Chris Isaak. Instrumention offers an abundance of creatively armed guitar work as well as piano, cello and synth orchestration. The resulting album is at times rewarding and other times excruciatingly difficult. Depending on your frame of mind, you might either find this release annoying as a birthday party for a two year old or one of the best extreme albums in awhile. What Dornenreich lacks in cuddliness they make up for with their sheer talent. Chances are fans of Bethlehem, Abigor and other likeminded bands will find Her Von Welken Nächten a worthy find but for those who desire a little more friendliness to their music, I'm certain Dimmu Borgir will be much kinder.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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Durch Den Traum

Dornenreich - Durch Den Traum ©2006 Prophecy Productions
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. VI
7. VII

Of the many artsy black metal bands confined mostly to the margins, Dornenreich represents one of the few that has finally started to carve out a larger niche for themselves. At least, a niche that is larger than "bands that wish they were Abigor". Earlier Dornenreich releases contained plenty of that tinny Abigor production, which I've found in my old age to be a real negative for any band, including those named Abigor. Fortunately, Dornenreich has gone more in the direction of meandering art metal. (Fortunate is a relative term, depending on your tolerance for art metal, of course.)

Durch Den Traum is an eight song affair with some of the most clever song titles since Canada's Removal hit the scene. The album wanders through a variety of mood settings without really ever sticking to anything long enough to call it a definitive sound. Tracks two and three are both over ten minutes in length, but if you aren't paying attention, you could easily assume they are four or five separate songs...or one very long one, depending on how much Opeth has warped your sensibilities on what defines "songwriting". Dornenreich breaks out a full array of acoustic and distorted guitars, vocals that are whispered, spoken and shrieked. You know, the usual arsenal of artsy dark metal. The nicest aspect to this album is that the band took the time to make it sound good in the studio, avoiding that deliberately shrill sound far too many black metal bands strive for.

Dornenreich isn't one of those bands that will gain a sizeable audience anytime soon, but there's enough fans of the artsy dark metal realm to keep them going for awhile. For those who either appreciate song structures so vast that it takes eighteen listens to grasp it or really hate any song that actually seems to have a point, Dornenreich is worth checking out with their latest release.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2006

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