QUINTESSENZ - To The Gallows

Quintessenz - To The Gallows

10 songs
47:12 minutes
***** ***
Evil Spell


Genözider seems to be a busy young man. He is for one thing the owner of Heavy Metal Sturmtrupp Records, a small label that occasionally releases cassette tapes, but mostly he used to play in Beer Pressure and Obsessör, and is currently active in Bulldozing Bastard, Luzifer and Vulture. And then he still has time to head his solo project Quintessenz which started in 2010 and has recently released its second longplayer To The Gallows.

On his first album Back To The Kult Of The Tyrants, the German artist was still influenced by the first wave of black metal, namely Venom, Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost, but he decided to evolve on the new record by adding more melodic components. Solo albums are often a double-edged sword. Sometimes the artist lacks the objective distance to fulfil his true potential, but at other times the artist is unhindered by people diluting their creative vision. In the case of Quintessenz, we are fortunately in the latter category.

The opener Zeitgeist verrecke is a very topical piece about the dumbing down of our planet, and combines raw black metal with a punked up thrash attitude. Call it blackened thrash metal or trashing black metal, it doesn’t really make a difference. The vocals are strangely enough rather clear, thus setting Quintessenz apart from most other black metal bands. The shrieking guitar riffs and the venomous chorus will make sure that you won’t forget this soon-to-be classic anytime soon. The following Of Majestic Shores starts with sea sounds and acoustic guitars, and it is here where it first becomes quite obvious where Genözider is heading with his new album. Quorthon may have left us much too early (it will already be thirteen years in June!), but Quintessenz makes sure that your memories will return on many of the songs on To The Gallows. In fact, the predominant sound on this album lies on the short space between Bathory’s early rabid black metal feats and his later majestic Viking sound.

And maybe that’s why To The Gallows turns out to be such a successful affair. Creating another primitive black metal explosion would rather be pointless, and frankly there are currently too many Viking metal bands around. Instead we get a truly rowdy black thrash hybrid that has this sweaty punk attitude reminiscent for instance of Motörhead’s best stuff. For an album recorded by one man all by himself, To The Gallows never sounds cold or sterile, but rather feels like an updated version of the early – if not earliest – days of black metal before the genre became to stylised for its own good. In the end, Quintessenz has delivered ten compact tracks that are informed by many kinds of metal (black, thrash, heavy, doom), resulting in a surprisingly homogenous and original mix. Highly recommended for vintage black and thrash metal fans!

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