KLABAUTAMANN - Our Journey Through the Woods (Self released CD 2003)
What a tongue breaker is the name of this band! Klabautamann! Hehe, seriously, come on! I’ve read on Metal Archives an explanation of this name, which is (quote): “Klabautamann is a way of writing Klabautermann, a goblin that predicts shipwrecks”. Hey, simple Morbid Fuck is not enough? Hehe, of course I am joking now, don’t listen to me. Hehe, but hey, listen to some really fuckin awesome music, from a band, which probably is known to only few people around. Sad that Klabautamann never got any bigger, as I am sure that their music has quality, which could and should provide them more attention. But what can I expect if their albums were released by small labels? “Our Journey Through the Woods” has been self released by the band first and later in 2008 re-released by Vendlus Records. I think I have the first version, as there’s no label name anywhere to be found in the booklet or CD disc. Whatever… A nice album, with really cool artwork, which I think was done by the same artist, whose works were used by Mortiis. This artwork can give you an idea that “Our Journey Through the Woods” will not be a raw and primitive, satanic black metal, but something more atmospheric. And yes, it is exactly that – atmospheric, slightly folky, epic black metal. Awesome stuff.
First we have a melancholic intro, which is more like a calm before the storm, as soon “Der Nöck” erupts with nice and fast black metal riffing, similar to… hmm, and here I could probably mention few bands, but two, which I have a strongest resemblance to would be German masters Helrunar and Helhiem from Norway. Add to it some Agalloch, Enslaved and here we go… You may have a nice idea what is Klabautamann like. Awesome music, as I already wrote! “Der Nöck” has so many killer parts; it begins with fast piece, but then becomes slower, more atmospheric, but still quite aggressive and angry! The riffing is not that typical, but if you know the bands I mentioned above then you’ll recognize that style! They even used an acoustic guitar as a background to one riff and these German lyrics fit so perfectly here (just like in Helrunar, so maybe this is why I have this resemblance)… all in all, that song is a real smasher. And that’s not everything what Klabautamann has prepared, the entire album is filled with greatness. If you like a real Agalloch-like tune then I recommend you “Rabenmorgen”; built upon some acoustic passages, with some slightly folky atmospheres… Yes, very good indeed. I really enjoy bands, which are able to combine the harshness of black metal with acoustics and atmospheric stuff and Klabautamann is in my opinion just as good as mentioned Agalloch.
Klabautamann managed to create a properly dark, sorrowful, melancholic atmosphere, which probably fits perfectly to their fantasy lyrics (and I write probably, as no lyrics are to be found in the booklet, so I can only guess by the song titles!). Songs like “Rabenmorgen” and “Seaghost” are awesome examples for that. They’re later followed by acoustic instrumental “Elfentanz”. But in case you feel bored with such quieter moments, then Klabautamann attacks with songs like “Tower of Sorcery” – fast, harsh, aggressive black metal, but one which still holds that atmospheric, sometimes slightly melodic side, so it does fit to the whole album and doesn’t sound like something thrown within by accident. Some riffs are maybe not so usual for black metal style (listen to “Trolldance”), but there’s no one single bad moment on the album. If you have any doubts, then give a listen to the final anthem called “Autumn’s Death” – an epic over eight minutes long masterpiece, filled with awesome harmonies, acoustics, atmosphere, but also with real raging parts. Yes, incredible piece.
So, if you call yourself a fan of atmospheric black metal, especially of the bands I mentioned in this review, then I strongly recommend you finding “Our Journey Through the Woods”. I am not sure if it’s rare or not, Klabautamann is not a well known band, so there’s a strong hope to find it here and there cheap, I guess, so if you happen to see a copy – do not hesitate to buy it. Very good band, indeed!
Standout tracks: “Der Nöck”, “Rabenmorgen”, “Seaghost”, “Autumn’s Death”
Final rate: 80/100