Switzerland’s black metal duo Ungfell was formed in 2014 by Vâlant (drums) and Menetekel (vocals, guitars, bass and accordion). On the new album, the Zurich-based outfit sought to fuse the elements of folk music and black metal. Their third effort titled ‘Es grauet‘ was released on April 30th via Eisenwald. The band shrewdly weaves themes of witchcraft and the Middle Ages resulting in many fast and slowed, tranquil moments. The songs incorporate a fine deal of composition carried by captivating tremolos. While their style is mainly influenced by French black metal bands such as Sühnopfer and Peste Noir, Ungfell’s music sounds refined and sophisticated. Displaying a grand chemistry ‘Es grauet‘ exhibits classic raw black metal in which the skillful musicians define their craft in memorable folk tunes.
The old fashioned tunes of folk music on the album’s intro ‘Es grauet überm Dorf (Wie s niemert het chönne ahne)’ gives the old sense of folkish tradition of a rooster crowing at the rising sun. Ungfell’s musical style isn’t like contemporary folk music: the duo exhibits their roots in a true expression of raw school black metal. The echoing rasps and the swift blast beats on the following track ‘Tyfels Antlitz (Wie e Huerä zwei Chind empfanget)’ provide an authentic feel to the music. Forged by tremolo-picked melodies and unnerving tempos, there are elements of acoustic guitars and harmonizing melodies sweeping across its length of thirty-eight minutes. The album cover artwork reminds me of the first album by Norwegian black metal band Troll ‘Drep de Kristne‘.
One can easily determine the duo’s talent for creating such music reminiscent of the heydays of yore. Ungfell’s music expands to cover other aspects and not only the medieval folk influences. For example, the instrumental cut ‘D Schwarzamslä (Wie us däne Goofe Pfaffä wärdet)‘ is beautifully textured with Celtic tunes where the acoustic guitar and environmental soundscapes create animated themes. The songs are dynamic and full of vivid melodies and guitar hooks. Each riff is issued with sublime dexterity to alternate between swift tempos.
‘Mord im Tobel (Wie en hinterhältige Mord begange wird)‘ offers earworm melodies and excellent tremolo lines. Every track is varied in riffs and they are powerfully executed. On the other hand, the use of the layered folk instruments along with the guitars gives rich texture to the song. The high-pitched shrieks of Menetekel are embellished with intricate folk melodies that make the songs quite memorable. Whereas the drumming of Vâlant provides swift blasting speed, Ungfell’s enthusiasm and songwriting flair is brought by an impeccable technique. The principal themes of the album are inclined towards witchcraft and ancient Swiss folklore. The musical style is very similar to bands such Kvelgeyst, Windir and Peste Noire.
The third full-length album includes four actual tracks and an equal number of instrumental interludes. The male choral on ‘S Chnochelied (Wie e Beschuldigti gfoltered wird und Visione bechunnt)’ provides a dramatic feel to the song while the old fashioned tremolos add a malefic feel to the song. ‘Es grauet‘ balances the folk instruments like the acoustic guitar, cellos and harp. The aptitude of the melodramatic atmosphere is exquisitely fulfilling with the music dominating through creative melodies. Another instrumental track that evokes the dramatic sense of folk is ‘Stossgebätt (Wie das Wyb als Häx hygrichtet wird)‘. It focuses on the theatrical display of the instrumentation and the singing choral.
The driven riffs are strummed fast on many songs, which is why the songs venture into many fast tempos. The duo showcases their innate skills to fluctuate between folk and black metal, even though the songs are imbued with a refined palette of a diversified range of styles. The tremolo-picked riffs and the blast beats on ‘D Unheilspfaffä vom Heinzäbärg (Wie Tod und Verdärbe uf das Dorf iistürzt)‘ sets up a powerful tempo where the drums lead the way to some emotive folk section which features a beautiful female chanting. The third album from the Zurich-based duo highlights their impressive performance. ‘Es grauet‘ is ominously dark and rumbling with heavy drums, enhanced by folk and Celtic nature.
Release Date: April 30th, 2021
- Es grauet überm Dorf (Wie s niemert het chönne ahne)
- Tyfels Antlitz (How e Huerä receives two chind)
- D Schwarzamslä (Wie us däne Goofe Pfaffä wärdet)
- Mord im Tobel (Wie en hinterhältige Mord begange wird)
- S Chnochelied (Wie e Beschuldigti gfoltered wird und Visione bechunnt)
- Stossgebätt (Wie das Wyb als Häx hygrichtet wird)
- D Unheilspfaffä vom Heinzäbärg (Wie Tod und Verdärbe uf das Dorf iistürzt)
- S Fälsebräche (Wie s Böse begrabe wird)