Album: Faustian Reawakening
Label: Threeman Recordings
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Release Date: May 6th, 2022
For Fans Of: Behemoth, Mayhem, Dissection
Some people, like me, are sad that Behemoth haven’t released a new record since I Loved You At Your Darkest. Some people are just sad that Behemoth released I Loved You At Your Darkest. But whatever size the hole in your heart is, Wachenfeldt has you covered. Their first full-length, 2019’s The Interpreter, was an excellent blackened death metal experience complete with a violin solo and a Slayer cover. The band’s style did not change in the slightest in the following five years. Their concise, brutal blackened death foundation with sharply and sparsely used bells and whistles returns with sophomore release Faustian Reawakening.
Let’s walk through the rough patches first. Faustian Reawakening lasts for way, way too long. Although in reality the record clocks in at just over fifty-three minutes, Wachenfeldt’s consistent style paired with a somewhat punishing production makes the record feel even longer. The big change of pace is a violin interlude. While it works great, it’s the second to last track, and by that point the damage is done. Because of the length and the consistency of Faustian Reawakening, some tracks blend together and create a mess of blackened goop.
Additionally, Wachenfeldt put their absolute worst foot forward. Opener “Primaeval Order” is the worst track on the record, and would have been the worst track on The Interpreter as well. The vocals have some inconsistent moments, the riffs bore me at times, and the drums do nothing at best and get in the way at worst. Part of this issue is the fault of the production, which seems to give the vocals and the drums too much space at the expense of other instruments at times throughout the record. I had a sinking feeling the first time I put this album on.
By the third track, all of that goes away. Faustian Reawakening ends up being an excellent record. Throughout the rest of the album, the vocals have a nice variety of tones, effects, and intonations to keep the listener interested, and they maintain dynamism in both the choruses and the versus. The drums sound excellent, and add remarkable energy to the band’s sound. The bass often just serves to complement the guitars, and does so well, but when it gets a spotlight it makes full use of it. The guitars themselves sparkle with satanic delight. Fast sections are played with fire and skill while maintaining plenty of emotion. The guitar solos add another dimension to the music due to the fantastic musicianship of the band, as in the hands of a lesser guitarist they would sound like boring death metal shredding that has no soul.
The songwriting is the component that really lifts Faustian Reawakening over the wall. This release contains an excellent blend of fury, weight, and small choices that work, such as the keyboard break in “Halsu.” The riffs are interesting, but not load-bearing. Wachenfeldt create anti-progressive death metal: They use standard song formulas and keep everything precise, but do so in a way that utterly works. They blend memorable moments with deep writing throughout.
Wachenfeldt are consistent to an absurd degree. Both of their full-lengths are between fifty-three and fifty-four minutes long, and both contain nine tracks including one violin-focused interlude. Their longest non-interlude track across both records is 7:43, and their second-shortest is 5:11. It should be no surprise that they are consistently excellent as well. Faustian Reawakening is perfect for the mourning Behemoth fan in your life. If you weren’t a fan of The Interpreter, there will be nothing for you here, but for the rest of us Wachenfeldt has continued to roll.
- Primaeval Order
- Faustian Reawakening
- Become Who You Are
- Conteporary Eschatology
- Fertilize The Soil
- The Warrior Mounds
- Interlude – Incipiens In Finem
- Where Everything Ends
Total Playing Time: 53:11