From the opening strains of “The Ritual Begins…”, Waffenruhe present a deep, resonating sound that steadily grows like an impending army just over the horizon. Tension slowly builds, with the strike of the solitary note of a pan flute, keeping beat as the drums begin to rise, signaling the approaching conflict. “Ritual” is a perfect opening piece, dark and inspiring with a militaristic air of victory that is achieved with the final, track-ending note of the flute.
This sets the stage sonically for Waffenruhe’s sound on War Rituals – sharp and plucked notes accentuate the perfectly timed snares and bombastic bass drums, providing a rigid and deep foundation for Waffenruhe’s style. The first three tracks follow this musical theme and perhaps spread the opening anticipation just a bit too far, but then “Kampft!” begins and the pace quickens, providing an aggressive contrast. “Kampft!” drives along with an excellent string phrase, supported by the drums of war, the strains of acoustic guitar and a deeply buried vocal sample. Above all of this exists the lead vocals, surprisingly sung in English, with the chorus of “Kampft!” ringing in.
Waffenruhe use this ebb and flow effectively throughout War Rituals, providing quiet passages that are offset by more martial elements. The album is, overall, an impressive collection of tracks, with the standouts being the previously mentioned “Kampft!”, along with “Sieg (V.3)”, “War-Chant-Ritual”, and “New Flowers Out of Cold Ashes”, which contains a soft piano line sprinkled throughout the song.
Upon my first listen, I initially thought the album was bit restrained, but immediately on my second pass through, the careful use of sounds, pacing and overall style became more apparent and arresting. Waffenruhe demonstrates a great balance between the stylings of neoclassical and the martial arena, providing a solid release in War Rituals.
Waffenruhe has appeared previously on Castellum Stoufenburc’s Sturmreif: The New Underground of Military Pop compilation, and also had offered their listeners a free 4-track EP entitled Nostalghia before the release of War Rituals. However, this is all you’ll be able to discover about the mysterious project – there is virtually no information available, and according to Castellum Stoufenburc, Waffenruhe prefers it this way. The music is the message, and the listener should expect to draw his or her own impressions and assumptions about Wafferuhe.
01) The Ritual Begins…
02) The Call to the Last Ones
03) The Return of Fire & Iron
05) Our Home is the Battlefield
06) Blood Covers the Earth
07) Sieg (V.3)
08) Ars Militaris
10) Set the World on Fire
11) Überwindung des Alten Durch Sieghafte Kraft
12) New Flowers Out of Cold Ashes
13) Wir Werden Ewig Leben