SCHWARZER ENGEL - SIEBEN

SCHWARZER ENGEL
Reviewer Score: 8 out of 10

THE SEVENTH SEAL


The seventh album by the band called Schwarzer Engel with the not-so-inventive title "Sieben" ("Seven") became one of the first high-profile novelties of the year. Of course, I simply couldn't ignore Dave Jason's new record (unfortunately, I don't know the real name of the leader of "black angels"). After all, since the announcement of the release of the very first album of the project back in 2010, it was clear that something very noticeable was waiting for us within the framework of the German Gothic Metal scene. By the way, then, at the stage of album`s press release, Rammstein, Dimmu Borgir and Amon Amarth were announced as the main influencers for Schwarzer Engel. Personally I didn’t reveal any noticeable influence of Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir on the work of Schwarzer Engel… Although, if by "influence" we mean a thick layer of epicism framed by pretentious pathos, sometimes exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness, then yes, probably, something in common can really be found… But this is not so important; we, as listeners, have received a new, interesting, promising name. The project has always been at the junction of Gothic Metal/Dark Metal with some NDH influence. At the early stages of the development of Schwarzer Engel, the closest analogy I saw was Samsas Traum, which is, as a matter of fact, one of my favorite bands, so such comparison was quite flattering from my point of view. By the way, Kaschte participated in the recording of the song called "Fieber im Blut" for the second Schwarzer Engel album, which to this day remains my favorite in the discography of the project, and no, not only because of the feat with Samsas Traum. In general, it turned out to be a very successful and well balanced album in terms of its melodism; in my opinion, later Dave failed to catch the same "point of balance" on his subsequent releases. But it was on "Sieben" where he came closest to this. And here we will finish the excursion into the past and have a look at what makes this album unique and whether it is unique at all.

The album opens with a two-minute intro called "VII", in which Dave, with his signature baritone, spells out a Latin text like a spell, the meaning of which eluded me, although, to be fair, I still made an attempt to translate it. Anyway, it turned out to be quite ominous, even without going into the meaning of what was said in the song. This track is followed by three single songs, the first of which called "Kreuziget mich" was released back in 2020. In this song the lyrical hero, with modesty characteristic of Schwarzer Engel, offers to crucify him like Jesus... I can see how this very lyrical hero rises to the cross on the wave of his own pathos. But, if we leave all the jokes aside, the track is really catchy and memorable and was quite deservedly chosen as the first single for the upcoming full-length album. The second track on the album is the composition called "Teufel", already well-known to the fans of the band as well, because it was released along with "Kreuziget mich" on the eponymous EP. And in its mood it is just as monumental and pathetic. Here we again have something about "the devil that lives everywhere" and "the world drowning in fire." In general, a classic, while listening to such songs one can play "Darksiders", playing for one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Sorry, I can't help but be ironic about the theatrical seriousness of some of the passages of Schwarzer Engel, but this is not out of spite; I really like Teufel with its melodism and integrity of the compositional structure. However, these features are characteristic of the entire "Sieben" album, but we will return to this thesis at the end.

In the meantime, let's move on to the next single, "Paradies", for which the band even made a video. I don't know why they made a video for this exact song. As a matter of fact "Paradies" is a quite typical ballad for SE, I didn't notice anything special about it; it's a nice track, but nothing more. In my opinion, there was a more worthy candidate even among the ballads on "Sieben", but first things first. Next is a rather energetic smash hit called "Ewig Leben" which is about something like the brainchild of Frankenstein. And yes, this track also came out as a single shortly before the release of the full-length album. But (finally!) this is the last single of the album; you will definitely hear (or have already heard) all subsequent compositions for the first time. And that's exactly the next track which is called "Wie viele Jahre" I had in mind, speaking of a more worthy ballad to be released as a single. Of course, all this is a matter of taste and, in fact, "Wie viele Jahre" does not differ from "Paradies" except for its melody, but personally this melody hooked me more; you may have a completely opposite situation, this is absolutely fine. The "Schlitzer" that follows it lyrically reminded me of the good old Korol' i Shut ("The King and the Clown" – famous Russian Punk Rock band). A mediocre fairy tale about a crazy maniac hunting for some young lady. As for me, this is one of the weakest tracks of the album in terms of melody, and generally a quite boring one, but thanks to Dave's chic tone, it's still pleasant to listen to, although it doesn't provoke the desire to spin this track on repeat. It restores some faith in the album called "Vollmond", and together with faith in the album, the song returns the very monumentality of the beginning of the record. Still not the strongest track on the album, but definitely worthy of attention.

And then comes unexpectedly… dance (?!) track called "Ring Frei", which suddenly turns out to be one of the brightest and most memorable tracks on the record, for all its simplicity. I think that`s because it really stands out from all this typical "Engelian" epicism. Lyrically, "Ring Frei" is also not quite typical of SE, because it is such a mediocre motivational track about the will to win, describing a fighting match. I repeat, it was unexpected and... it's tempting to write "nice", but it's really nice, without any quotation marks. After the energetic, groovy "Ring Frei", the album offers us the third ballad called "Schönheit", which again does not differ much from the other two, and then you can only choose which one will remain your favorite; for me "Schönheit" could not remove "Wie viele Jahre" from the pedestal. And the record ends with a track with a title "Endzeit", which is quite suitable for this purpose. And after the lines "bring vodka, bring gin", it becomes clear what this very "End of Times" is associated with, which the title of the track speaks of. The mood of the song, by the way, is very close to "Ring Frei". A powerful ending to an excellent record, what else can I say. It's time to move on to the final part.

Very often I was missing something in the releases by Schwarzer Engel, or vice versa, there was too much of something, but it was on "Sieben" that Dave approached the very "point of balance" that I spoke about at the beginning of the review. Perhaps, "Träume einer Nacht" will remain the band`s favorite record for me, but "Sieben" will take an honorable second place. It is lighter, more melodic and also less pushing than the "Imperium" duology, but more uniform and balanced than its predecessor called "Kult der Krähe". The album, of course, does not offer us anything conceptually new, does not carry any revelation, but it is still very pleasant and very soft to the ear, while having a pretty strong hit potential. I'm pleasantly surprised and I think that the album "Sieben" can open the list of the top Gothic Metal albums of the year.

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Reviewer:
Serj Tabu
Music journalist, showrunner, the co-founder of our radio. And just a freakin' cool man, without whom nothing would have happened!