Raubzug, (German: Raid) is the latest disc from :ERNTEGANG:, an almost entirely self-released German duo with six full length albums to their credit.
It is an interesting (if occasionally overreaching) offering of industrial soundscapes and militant spoken word. The most successful cuts from this album are reminiscent of the more atmospheric explorations of their most obvious influence, Death in June. Particularly evocative is “Waldgang,” (German: Retreat into the forest) a haunting mix of choral vocals and martial drums, interspersed with mostly unintelligible samples of ghostly voices and a distorted chatter which suggests a host of creeping fauna hidden in the shadows.
Presumably, this composition is an interpretation of the 1951 Ernst Jünger essay by the same title, which describes the struggle of men who consider themselves intellectually independent from the surrounding society on the grounds of an ethical opposition to its predominating opinions. The moody, oppressive undertones combined with wistful, luminous chimes convincingly convey the idealistic alienation of the determined individualist as he treads through a textural wilderness of strident hope and dull, echoing dread.
Though every track on this disc has its merits, the high-minded subject matter is sometimes undercut by the limitations of the band’s sonic palate. Given access to a full orchestra instead of a tinny, artificial sounding synth, I’m sure that tracks like “March of the Titans” would be amazing. As it stands, this particular song falls considerably short of the place of soaring grandeur for which the musicians behind it are clearly aiming. Another odd excursion is “Barrow Parker Memorial,” which sets words from the death scene of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker to an industrial background which is somewhat less varied and captivating than the aforementioned “Waldgang,” or the equally strong opening track, “Erinnerung” (German: Memory). Perhaps we are meant to see Bonnie and Clyde as a pair of Jünger’s disaffected forest walkers, but the connection seems tenuous at best and not a little irrelevant.
The following track, “Love And Women And War” is a mixed bag as well. It is a spoken word piece about the attraction of women to soldiers, backed by some good percussion, choral vocals, and a murder of crows. Although the subject is interesting enough, the oratory itself is mostly bombastic and immature. Issues with the vocal performance may be partially due to the fact that it is delivered in English, which is obviously not the speaker’s first language. About two minutes in, we begin to hear the unmistakable sound of a girl being fucked senseless. This less-than-subtle accompaniment continues uninterrupted for the rest of the track’s considerable six minute length.
Despite its shortcomings, the album finishes very well with a powerful and well balanced piece entitled “The Fallen Emperor.” Booming blasts of fuzzy percussion and the tinkle of bells vibrate above a crackling bed of static, providing a more layered sound to buttresses the music’s epic aspirations.
Individually, some of the work here is very accomplished. As a whole though, the album never completely delivers on the promise of its excellent opener. There are enough things to like here that Raubzug will probably satisfy fans of the group, but it is hardly essential listening.
02. Barrow Parker Memorial
03. Love And Women And War
04. Waldgang (Emigration)
05. March Of The Titans
07. The Fallen Emperor