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Snuff || Hiroshima

Cold Dimensions (2014)
Rating: 7.5/10

Fäulnis are an unusual band from Germany. Over the years since their 2003 inception, the group have dabbled with some interesting styles of metal – the result being three solid studio albums, the most recent being Snuff II Hiroshima.

There’s nothing overly technical about Fäulnis, but they create an intriguing melting pot of punk, black metal, slightly industrial avantgarde, and melodic metal, which when put through the blender emerges as an inaccessible yet always slightly grey-laced noise. Fäulnis always have an element of despair about their sound, probably due to the angst-ridden vocals of Seuche whose strains of pain have a punky attitude while the guitars display a strong doomy influence.

I have to admit that Snuff II Hiroshima is not the most upbeat album you’ll hear this year, and while the lyrics are in the German tongue, the music can at times feel depressive in its unorthodox manner. There aren’t many other bands that spring to mind when trying to describe the ashen sound of these guys, so if dark metal is your thing you just might have to trust me on this one and give it a spin.

The record boasts nine strong tracks which all have a cold feel about them, and yet at times the band can be so darn accessible, ‘Weil Wegen Verachtung’ being the finest example. This was the first track I heard off the album, and it effortlessly combines gothic rock and doom metal, but yet has such an unerring black metal edge when it takes off amid a wail of guitars, quickfire drums and those hateful vocals.

The interchanging of gritty melody and extreme metal is impressive, but one can’t avoid the smog that lays heavy over this record. Fäulnis are simply a grey haze of a band that delight in the peculiar and dank, whether in the form of ‘Abgrundtief’, ‘Paranoia’ or the creeping sickness that is ‘Hiroshima’ with its hauntingly stark intro and bleak overtones.

I guess to label these guys as doomy punk black metal might sound ludicrous, but it’s the only way to give you an idea of this angry band. Far from being extreme in speed, Snuff II Hiroshima is at its heart an abrasive, rust-ridden opus with emotion channelled through seemingly tormented frontman Seuche, whose mournful yelps and pleas of insanity should make this an acquired, yet sometimes bewildering and always bleak listen.

Neil Arnold

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