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I first heard Wach very recently when I reviewed the “Der Gegner ist die Zeit” compilation. The sole track Wach provided for that compilation was excellent so I was pretty excited to be able to review a full album by the artist. I find Wach to be very atmospheric. This is definitely an album that you can throw on and get completely lost in for 45 minutes.
Yet, attractive as special casing is, it’s the music that we must focus on. Sadly, I can’t review any of the bonus tracks available on the full CDs so I’m limited to talking about the three tracks on my promo copy. Well, I say three tracks but it’s really all about title-track “The Fear” as the cunningly titled, thirteen second “Intro” and the looping Aphex Twin-isms of third track “Chains” amount to the sum total of just over a minute of atmospheric noises that set the scene but little else.
Strahl’s music is definite a departure from the violin-dominated tracks of Neutral. Waldsonne combines mandolin, acoustic guitar, and violin into a balanced blend of music that has roots and in traditional folk music and slight medieval influences. The sound is gentler and less forceful than Neutral and seems slightly more feminine in nature.
It’s not like Waldsonne are enjoying the barrenness of the perpetual Winters though. Much of the subject matter of the album rotates around the need for bright weather and lush nature in stark contrast to the photography in the booklet.
The common thread combining the four compositions is the unifying theme of the Wild Hunt / Twelve Nights heathen mythology and folklore as each of the songs reflects aspects and themes of this ancient mythical event. The Wild Hunt mythology as it pertains to “Rauhnacht” traces back to Teutonic Mythology which explains:
“At the root of the myth lies the Teutonic god Woden, or Odin, to use his Norse name. Odin, in his guise of wind-god, was thought to rushing through the skies astride his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir. As it was thought that the souls of the dead were wafted away on the winds of a storm, Odin became regarded as the leader of all disembodied spirits - the gatherer of the dead. Eventually, storms became associated with his passing. In this role he was known as the Wild Huntsman.
his re-release features two new tracks that effectively split the old in half, by fitting in Das Wilde heer vom Hörselberg, as well as Berchta und sie Spinnerin. When looked at as a single work, Rauhnacht comes together to deal with one theme in particular:
Waldteufel’s strength on “Sanguis” is their juxtaposition of harsh electric guitars with the folkloric and pagan sounds. Their weakness are their attempts at atmospheric numbers, which is highlighted when they carry on for far longer than is necessary.
This was initially conceived of as a 12” and if some of the extraneous fluff was trimmed, Waldteufel would have released a highly effective dose of neofolk, rather than this mixed bag of memorable folk and superfluous atmospherics
The compositions have a very subtle effect on the ear. They worm their way deep into one’s awareness, until a huge portion of one’s waking state is given over to this thick band of unconscious-engulfing sound.