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Orplid – Deus Vult (2020)

  • neofolk

I was looking for music to play for some people who do not share my musical taste, so I needed something ‘light’. After a while I started browsing some neofolk, a genre I seldom play and I noticed that Orplid has a new album. A new album, 12 years after the last one!

I my memory does not fail me, the titleless 1998 debut of Orplid was my first ‘real’ neofolk album. I still the earlier material of Orplid, but seldom play it.

Putting on “Deus Vult” it is soon clear that Orplid changed a bit. The acoustic guitars had to make place for soft electronics, but there are still electric guitars here and there. The atmosphere is roughly the same as on earlier albums. The music is soft, sometimes somewhat melancholic, the distinctive vocals Uwe Nolte are still there. Unfortunately Claudia Arndt has been replaced by a female vocalist that I like less.

Something familiar and something new. The music goes from orchestral to more IDM kind of music to minimal ambient. Not bad at all actually, but not really my cup of tea either.

If you are quick, you can get a luxury version of the album that includes a book and there is also a massive box set with the complete Orplid discography available.

Links: Orplid, Auerbach Tonträger

Death In June * Live In New York (dvd 2006)

I did not realise this DVD is so old when I ordered it. Here we have a recording of the November 10 2002 concert of Death In June in New York. The DVD lasts for an hour and a half and has a whopping 30 songs. The show was an accoustic one with Douglas P. on guitar (without talking off his fly-net helmet) and John Murphey for some extra sounds.

There are actually songs on this disc that I do not believe I knew. Like I said, they are all minimalistic in sound which makes the DVD a bit lengthy in my opinion and of course there is not a whole lot to see either. It looks like Douglas was in a good mood, since he introduces most songs and asks for requests. This way you get a little bit of background of the songs. This could be a reason to buy this DVD. When you are not an avid Death In June collector, this release gives a descent overview of the discography of the band.

Links: Death In June / NER, Tesco USA

Ernte * Zu Den Sternen (7″ 2013)

I actually thought that Ernte did not release anything since the 1996 compilation “Mysteria Mithrae” and this was actually the reason to get this 7″. Discogs has two previous 7″s listed though. “Zu Den Sternen” contains a nice, somewhat experimental track (the title track), a song that was already on the mentioned compilation (“Stolze Herzen”) and a rather awfull cover of an Allerseelen track (“Santa Sangre”). Not as surprising as I hoped… Nice artwork by Markus Wolff though and Annabel Lee is also present in the title track.
Links: Ernte, Athanor

Sol Invictus ‎* Mr Cruel (7″ 2013)

I did not order this 7″ and yet I got it. Instead of returning it, I decided to just wait a bit and sell my one-of-500-copies for an enormous amount of money! I have no idea if this is going to be a cult item though… There is one very typical Sol Invictus song and a very strange one. Neither sound all that interesting to me, but then again, I am not a big Sol Invictus fan. I do like small vinyls though, so I am not totally unhappy with. Now you all… start bidding.
Links: Sol Invictus, Auerbach Tonträger

Luftwaffe ‎* Dissension (cd 2013)

I have told the story countless times. Before there was Myspace there was and unsigned bands freely presented their music there. This is where I discovered Luftwaffe somewhere in the late 1990’ies. It took many years before the band finally got the recognition they deserved with their (still) highly original combination of NON-like industrial and neofolk’n’roll; not the cheesy kind of neofolk, but energetic neofolk. Luftwaffe was a duo who used a lot of guest musicians. Now the duo split, one half continues under the monicker Et Nihil and “Dissension” is Luftwaffe’s goodbye album.
Most material sounds new to me, or at least, so far unreleased. There is relatively much neofolk and the music is not as good the last two albums, but “Dissension” is another wonderfull album of this American band.
Links: Luftwaffe, Old Europa Cafe

Spiritual Front * Open Wounds (2cd 2013)

Spiritual Front presents a limited box with two cds, a book and a t-shirt, but the good news is: I can also listen to this album on Deezer. The first cd contains all new versions of old songs and I wonder is the band tries to please the old fans or scare the new. There is material all the way back to the debut and most songs remained close the originals, with the mumbling singing from “Songs For The Will”, the depressive sound of the first two albums and the sexually explicit lyrics. This first cd does show that the old material is still pretty damn good, but depressive. On the second cd Spiritual Front explores new paths. They did not continue the pop-direction of “Rotten Roma Casino” (fiew!), but whereas the first cd is quite neofolk, the second goes from Swans-like guitar-madness to beautiful chamber music to more experimental and instrumental tracks. Indeed, Spiritual Front just keeps doing what it wants without getting confused by the success of the more accessible albums. On this new album you get a variety of styles of music, not including a poppy one. Interesting for sure.
Link: Spiritual Front

Of The Wand & The Moon * The Lone Descent (cd 2012)

I hardly listen to neofolk, but OTWATM is a band that I do like. I hardly listen to him either though, his music is too melancholic and albums sound too much alike, so skipped a few. Still being curious about the latest attempt, I got myself “The Lone Descent”. It opens brilliantly with a sunspot on Kim’s soul, a quite cheerfull song in which it seems that the 1960’ies psychedelic folk sound also crept into OTWATM. The website of the band says: “No More Happy Songs!” and “”The Lone Descent” is without doubt the most bleak and melancholic album from Of The Wand & The Moon”. Eh? I think I disagree. I do agree with this though: “Again Kim Larsen takes another road than the previous albums. 60’s influenced, where the love for Lee Hazlewood and Serge Gainsbourg shines through.” Very well done too this new sound of OTWATM. It is not like all songs are happy and poprocky, there are also some oldstyle songs, a few melancholic songs with gooseflesh-raising orchestrations, but there is a nice balance with more rock- and folk-oriented songs which makes “The Lone Descent” more managable than entirely depressing albums. A very good album that I might play more often than previous ones.
Link: Of The Wand And The Moon / Heiðrunar Myrkruna

Osewoudt * Gelag Van Zwartgeklede Kraaien (cd 2011)

My eye fell on this title on a distro list. Dutch and probably neofolk and I did not even know if I had heard of this band from my own country. Now neofolk is not really my genre, but since they are Dutch, let us give it a try. Well, the first song after the intro immediately proves why I rarely listen to this musical style these days. A typical guitar with accordeon and drumming track with awfull vocals, a very uninspired song that could have been on any Eislicht release of a decade past. Things get even worse with the second song, what horrible vocals! While the previous songs are sung in German, the next is a Dutch poem with soft music. Then follow some softer and more early Dies Natalis style songs in German and a closing track which is at least a bit atypical with Dutch vocals. Nope, neofolk is not my style, especially not the 13 in a dozen type… Only for people who long back to the early days of the second neofolk wave.
Links: Osewoudt, Lichterklang

Varunna * Ferro E Ruggine (mcd 2012)

As on this mcd, I know Varunna as a band with a line-up in the vein of Alessio B., Jörg B., Albin Sunlight Julius, Dennis Lamb, but yesterday on stage, Alessio was all by himself while at least Sunlight and possibly (I do not know his face) Dennis Lamb were also present. Because of the band-line-up, Varunna sounds more ‘spartan’ than the average neofolk band and combined with some Mediterranean temperament, made Varunna refreshing in the whole wave of cheesy neofolk. The show was minimalistic and however on this special tour-mcd there is more of a line-up, the sound is not as lively as on the “Cantos” cd. Some of the Der Blutharsch And The Church Of The Infinite Hand krautrock sound krept in and now knowing that Alessio is partly responsible for that sound, I see how. In any case, “Iron And Rust” is a lot less interesting than “Cantos”.
Links: Varunna, Hau Ruck!

Varunna * Cantos (cd 2007)

It is impossible to buy everything so I was happy to learn about a Tesco sale in which older material was sold for friendly prices. I bought Hau Ruck! and Tesco material (quite by accident I guess) that I did not buy when it came out. The reviews of today are all these older releases that you can buy cheaply from Tesco when I write this.
Vanunna is a very nice neofolk band on Hau Ruck! They released two 7″s and this cd. Albin Julius is (or used to be) a member, the other members are Alessio Betterelli and Jörg B. of Graumahd. Fortunately Varunna sounds nothing like the cheesy neofolk of Graumahd. If Betterelli is as Italian as his name, he seems to be the driving force behind Varunna. The sound is nicely mediteranean, with Italian lyrics, drumming, bass and sometimes electric guitar. Nice, stimulating music, nice songs (song better than others), finally again an interesting neofolk album. Why did I not buy it earlier?