Eïs – Stillstand und Heimkehr EP Review

Band: Eïs
Album: Stillstand und Heimkehr
Label: Prophecy Productions
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: Germany
Release Date: February 23, 2018

Eïs has been around for over 10 years now, before 2010 they were known as Geist, have made multiple albums in their time as a band, and have planted themselves as strong part of the German black metal scene. And for the cold late winter nights, they are returning with an EP entitled, ‘Stillstand und Heimkehr’ or, ‘Standstill and Homecoming’. The album remains true to Eïs’ atmospheric black metal roots, and has probings into slower, doom styles and ambient passages.

This EP is exactly what you’d expect in an atmospheric black metal release. Alboîn’s vocals are Aggressive and harsh, he’s clearly in his element, the best comparison that I can think of would be that they’re quite similar to Nargaroth’s vocals. They seem pretty one dimensional in the first track, but they ramp up as things progress, and come the second track they’re a perfect for the music; aggressive, and agonizing shrieks that pierce through the thick instrumentals accompanying him.

The instrumental section is reminiscent of a more highly produced Paysage d’Hiver release, or again, very Nargaroth-esque. The drums are regularly playing an extreme high speed blast beat, there are lots of double kick sections throughout the EP, so if you’re a fan of high speed kicks you’re in for a treat. The guitars are extremely crunchy, and textured, in the first track however, they just don’t seem to have much movement and they just aren’t interesting, this is remedied in the title track and the guitar rhythms become much less static. Where the guitars did shine most was in breaks when the acoustic melodies are played, and the lead melodies added some dissonance, and more movement.

The vast majority of the albums shortcomings are found on the beginning track ‘An den schwarz besandeten Gestaden’. The main problem being that things just get boring, it succeeds in creating a dark atmosphere, and has that ABM texture, but after the intro, the first section of the song enters a blast beat, with one dimensional vocals, repetitive guitars and keyboards, this drags for 4 minutes before you get an atmospheric break. The second half of the song redeems the aforementioned shortcomings, and the listener gets paid off with some new lead melodies, and blast beats that truly crush your eardrums.

The highlight of the EP is certainly the title track, ‘Stillstand und Heimkehr’, which is afflicted much less so by the faults that our first track suffered. There’s much more movement in the guitars, and we’re treated to more melodies and leads that really help thicken the oppressive atmosphere. The drums are much more dynamic, and make their way from a moderate tempo, to full bore blast by the end of the song. The vocals are much less one dimensional, and just seem to transfer way more emotion than they did in the previous track.

It’s unfortunate that I have to say that this EP is hit and miss, if it had more than 2 tunes it could have been much better. The main issue was that the first track seemed to drag, and wasn’t memorable, while the second half of the track starts to turn things around, and shows us whats in store, at 13 minutes its still a journey to get there. The second track on the other hand is great; it’s dark, melancholic, and oppressive, and if Eïs had tapped into what they did on this track for the making of the first, I’d have loved this EP. In the end though, this is a pretty typical atmospheric black metal release, there aren’t many elements that really stand out or bring anything new to the table, but they pulled it off well.

Rating:  7/10

1. An den schwarz besandeten Gestaden
2. Stillstand und Heimkehr

Total Playing Time: 21:41

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