By Jonathan Smith
Germany’s Semen Datura have returned with their latest full-length album Einsamkeit. It’s an eclectic archive of black metal-influenced noise that isn’t afraid to go in some unexpected directions. With the band avoiding familiar pagan or satanic imagery in favour of pursuing the “intellectual aspect” of “this art” (as stated in the liner notes), Einsamkeit opts for more minimalist and bleaker pictures of isolation amidst crushing metallic vibes.
While black metal is by far one of the most notable sonic influences on the band’s sound this outing, Semen Datura don’t box themselves into the confines of a single sub-genre. There’s thrashier moments as well, and a latter track, “Reike Stadt,” is one example of this. At the same time, the song begins by offering a haunting series of single notes played over the ambient background noise of chattering children — one of the many examples of the band’s willingness to change musical directions mid-track when it suits them. As the band’s voice as well as its guitarist, Conrath Auerswald’s vocals are, at times, given a chugging, repetitive aspect to them that brings to mind more industrial stylings (see “Marschbefehl”). Bass aficionados will be glad to hear the instrument appear front and centre on a track like Psychokrieg.”
Einsamkeit is not likely to appeal to a large metal audience. All evidence indicates this to be intentional on Semen Datura’s part. Besides that, there are moments where the album seems to drag a little bit; its latter half is not as strong as the first half. It is, however, an interesting and notable album for those looking for black metal-flavoured heaviness that actively seeks to go outside more traditionalist confines. If you’re looking for something like along those lines, it’s well worth a trip into Semen Datura’s bleak, noisy, and isolated world.