This, indeed, appears to be the annus mirabilis for the notorious Möbus brethren. In August, Ronald “Wolf” unveiled the inaugural and resplendent opus of his ensemble, Der Tod und Die Landsknechte, whilst his fraternal counterpart, JFN, culminates the year with the seminal MCD “Das Heerr aus dem Dunkel,” both unquestionably securing coveted positions among the zenith of 2023’s most distinguished releases.
A year after the release of the excellent “Schwarze Bande,” the Tyrants of German Black Metal have adroitly charted a course through three splits and an EP, before bestowing upon us this magnificent mini-album. It is a testament not merely to the ensemble’s vitality but also a proclamation of its apogee in productivity. Beyond this vitality, “Das Heerr aus dem Dunkel” stands as a conceptual album, laying bare Absurd at the pinnacle of their creative zenith, fashioning compositions of extraordinary maturity meticulously honed in both the instrumental and lyrical dimensions.
In my discernment, “Schwarze Bande” emanated a more melancholic tonality, perhaps attuned to the zeitgeist of its mentor at that particular epoch. Conversely, “Das Heerr aus dem Dunkel” exudes a more provocative and violent spirit—an opus not only more aggressive but also monumentally grandiose. This grandiosity is foreshadowed in the “Intro”, characterized by a cinematic auditory tableau, adeptly priming the auditor for the unfolding narrative.
“Begraben fur die Ewigkeit,” the subsequent opus delving into exile, introduces us to the ensemble’s more aggressive and violent facet. This is not solely due to the velocity of its beginning but also through the arrangements in its more measured cadences and the judicious choices of melodies that deftly steer the listener’s emotional compass. Attend to the guitars in the concluding cadence of this composition to apprehend the essence of my words.
It is noteworthy that JFN’s vocals are particularly inspired in this work, interpreting and conveying the lyrics’ intent in a uniquely compelling manner. Moving on to the next track, “Apokalypstische Auferstehung,” which talks about resurrection, features the esteemed Ronald “Wolf” in an epic guest appearance, definitively putting to rest the fable of two Absurds and silencing the gossipy old crones that infest the scene. This collaboration also underscores that blood is indeed thicker than water.
The subsequent title track, “Das Heerr aus dem Dunkel,” meaning “The Army of Darkness,” narrates the revenge of the legions rejected by the gods, exuding a more martial ambiance akin to a veritable march of the damned. I pause here to commend how the lyrical and instrumental aspects seamlessly complement each other, with compositions flawlessly translating the sonic embodiment of the narrative. The guitars exhibit details in its melodic lines that are ingenious, and the lyrics possess a poetic bias, doing it very deep, albeit somewhat direct. If you comprehend the German language, you will undoubtedly appreciate this masterpiece even more.
“Im Rausch der Zerstorung” portrays the culmination of the sought vengeance in the story, and this piece is slower and more melancholic, approaching moments reminiscent of the previous album, “Schwarze Bande.” The final part of this composition is the highest point of the album, evoking the sensation of triumph and victory demanded by the entire oeuvre.
“Dans Heerr aus dem Dunkel” concludes with an “outro” that consummates this mini-album masterfully, perpetuating the aura of epic grandiosity that pervades each track. As an aficionado of this horde and the legacy it carries, I can only revel in this moment of profound creativity and productivity enveloping Absurd, emphatically reiterating that “Das Heerr aus dem Dunkel” stands as one of the premier releases of the year and will assuredly not disappoint those acquainted with the band. Utterly mandatory.