Title: Death. Defiance. Decadence.
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Additional Notes: Re-release on MCD. Originally released in 2004 by Black Serenade Productions on 10" LP.
01 Des Selbsthenkers Requiem
03 Gate Of Nanna (Beherit cover)
Hailstorm is one of those bands that I have passed up listening to in the past due to seemingly "normal" looks and subjects. More often than not though, I smack myself for being a complete moron for "not listening to this band earlier". This is not an exception. Hailstorm seems to be one of the few bands in black metal that not only embraces keyboards as being extremely effective towards their unique atmosphere, but is actually talented at uptempo playing of the instrument. A lot of black metal acts today have keyboardists that may as well just be a guy who's good at pressing labeled buttons. No chords, no melodies or harmonies, just single notes. Everything else is fantastic too, until we get to the Beherit cover, but I'll go over that in a moment. The strongest part of the entire EP, and where the bands talent really shines through is the middle section of Todeskuß. At this point, Hailstorm takes on an almost Behemoth-like blackened death sound, and it comes out being incredibly powerful.
The biggest down point on this album is the slower track, The Gate of Nanna, which is a Beherit cover. There are no keyboards throughout this song at all, and unfortunately it really hurts the EP. They had a very strong atmosphere going with the first two tracks, and when we get here, everything slows down, becomes more doomy, and the keyboards cut out. It's like a flat tire in a drag race. It's incredibly destructive on such a short release.
The Beherit cover aside though, the EP is really a significant release for the German black metal scene. This type of black metal seems to have all but died off there, leaving thrashier influences ala Front Beast and Desaster as well as dark ambient influenced bands such as Vinterriket to take the helm. There was the incredible band Abyssaria there for a long time, but the last I heard, one main member dropped out to pursue an electronic project and the band has now ceased to function. It seems now Hailstorm is one of the few left, and I hope they continue to prosper on their current path of musical exploration. While there's not much here that hasn't been done before by better bands, it is still a noteworthy release from an outstanding project. Recommended for fans of underground symphonic black metal, and even some pagan black metal fans will find this release enjoyable.