Label: AOP Records
Genre: Post Black Metal
Release Date: November 25th, 2022
For Fans Of: Harakiri for the Sky, Heretoir
On Friday, November 25th, Karg releases their eighth full-length, titled Resignation. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, it’s a post black metal band from Austria that incorporates influences from a wide array of genres into their music. Karg was founded in 2006 as a one-man project by Michael Kogler, who is best known as Harakiri for the Sky’s vocalist J.J. After a few years, the project evolved into a band and they started to play gigs. They don’t make such a diverse type of music just by themselves, but especially on their more recent records, they’ve collaborated with a lot of guest musicians and bands, like Firtan, Lûs and Groza. Their latest offering is no exception: the band worked together with various musicians, from the aforementioned bands, as well as E-L-R and hip hop musician Private Paul.
The album’s opening track, “Was bleibt”, starts off with a clean guitar and some subtle cymbals that create a tranquil and somewhat consoling atmosphere. The energy gets built up soon with the addition of distorted rhythm and lead guitar, as well as increasingly energetic drums, until the music reaches its full form when J.J.’s recognizable vocals join in. Besides their roots in black metal, Karg is also clearly influenced by shoegaze and other post-metal genres. The energy that’s built up is soon stripped down, as it progresses into another calm passage. Throughout the length of the track (as well as on the other tracks), the instrumentation, and thus the feeling of the music, changes frequently. Overall, these changes occur quite naturally, which proves J.J.’s skill in composition.
The following track “EBBE//FLUT” has a more ominous atmosphere than its predecessor. It has guest vocals by I.R. and S.M. from Swiss post-metal band E-L-R. Their haunting clean vocals don’t just appear during the calm interludes, but also in the background of the more intense black metal passages, adding depth to the track both compositionally as well as atmospherically. One of the elements that tie all the tracks together is the haunting or enchanting quality of the music. On this track, the guest vocals play a large part in this, but on other tracks, like the third track, “Grab der Wellen”, the glockenspiel makes the music nearly fit to be the soundtrack to a fairytale. This vibe is also brought about by the great dynamics and nuance in composition and performance, at least in the instrumentals. An aspect of the music that unfortunately has less nuance are J.J.’s vocals. Although they work really well in Harakiri for the Sky, there’s many passages on this album where there’s a discrepancy between the intensity of the vocals and the subtlety of the instrumentals.
“Generation ohne Abschied” has the most unique collaboration in the genre. On this track, J.J. has joined hands with Private Paul, a German hip hop artist, who didn’t just write his own lyrics, but he even delivers them in rap form – something that’s rarely heard in black metal. And regarding unconventionality, the CD and bonus 7″ contain two covers that are daring to say the least: a cover of “Dreaming my Dreams” by The Cranberries and one of “Fever Queen” by Nothing. The lyrics have been translated to German, which makes them unique covers, but on the Cranberries cover, the grunts seem really out of place. “Fieberherz” works better though, because on this track the vocals are more nuanced.
In short, Resignation is an impressive record in terms of composition, performance and atmosphere. It contains some interesting collaborations, and it does put a kind of spell on the listener, but unfortunately, it has one unfortunate flaw: the lack of dynamics in the lead vocals – although they work well in a black metal band – often clashes with the nuanced instrumentals. Had they been mixed a bit less prominently, they might have blended in better with the rest of the music, but now they’re often quite distracting. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the great compositions on the record, for you’ll definitely hear some innovative elements.
- Was bleibt
- Grab der Wellen
- Generation ohne Abschied
- Einen Traum weiter fangen wir das Licht (The Cranberries – Dreaming my Dreams)
- Fieberherz (Nothing – Fever Queen)
Total Playing Time: 53:13
Rutger is a student from the Netherlands who, apart from his passion for the Spanish language, literature & culture, loves playing black metal and classical music.