I've been drifting off to sleep with this one for the past week and I have to say it's better than Ovaltine spiked with Nytol for slipping into the land of nod. That's not to say you are bored comatose, just that “Erhabenheit” murmurs a lullaby to make your eyelids weigh like manhole covers.
Labelled as instrumental Black Metal / Ambient, you'll need ears like an elephant to pinpoint the former, best to acknowledge this as the latter with a period within that hints at the Black. It doesn't really matter because as a mood setter, this one long track fulfils its purpose. Those who haven't taken their Ritalin will soon fidget off in short order because “Erhabenheit” is very much a slow burner, it walks a very fine line between building the moment and being painfully drawn out, fortunately the wait is worth it and endurance bears its reward.
Lacking pretension, SIEGHETNAR weaves simple elements together, combining an initial Folkish lament with more cosmic strains, all of which is borne upon a thrum from the void. Early on, an awakening is evoked as synthesiser chords are stretched, a burgeoning yawn stalled by star shimmer, the device is repeated along those terms for some considerable time before the forging of metal and skin adds substance to the emptiness. And so the guitar stumbles along as a dirge formed from despair, brittle yet free-flowing, it corrupts the purity of the keyboard tones, austere distortion though not contrived, may still hide a deceit due to its obscuring quality. The introduction of drums also follows the same uncomplicated path with naught but a steady tattoo verging on the lethargic, perhaps suggesting a wider futility, that said, there is weight in the execution, demonstrating an underlying strength and purpose.
Having come dangerously close to adding vigour to “Erhabenheit,” SIEGHETNAR resorts back to the vacuum and the stellar twinkling resumes, absent of anything metallic. Vibraphone plonking performs a lazy duel with the aurora of dark synth tone, starlight made to pulse by solar winds. The impression is given that this motif will gently carry you until the end but, on the contrary, the hobbled energy of the guitar and drums returns. There is a suggestion of greater emphasis this time, indeed within relatively short order the music flares and gains tempo and for a few precious minutes a form of exaltation actually engenders a sense of hope and escape before the prevailing (but still somewhat ambiguous,) bleakness regains its hold, although it never really could be described as negative.
“Erhabenheit” may well be effective in allowing a drift into slumber but it is also more than capable of providing accompaniment to wider eyed endeavours. As usual with records that are themed along depressive lines, I find this work does the opposite and where I should find myself wretched, I actually ratchet up a sense of euphoria. Whether the composer intends that consequence or not, music is there to heighten the emotions and in that sense “Erhabenheit” is a job well done.
(Online July 12, 2009)