Released: 2015, Prophecy
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Germany has a proud history regarding black metal. Boasting exports such as Marduk, Enstille and Bethlehem, any band wanting to break into the scene has a lot to live up to. Eis may not be newcomers, but when it comes to breaking out of the borders there’s still a lot of work left to do. Not deterred by this, they return once again to conquer new ground again with their fifth studio album Bannstein.
Despite how they are labelled, Eis are by no means straight up black metal. Their music is flecked with industrial sounds and gothic meanderings throughout with hints of lonely vocals, quiet violins and rising synths working their way into the sound. This is evident right from opening track Ein Letztes Menetekel where snarling vocals are crashing guitars are broken up with metallic clanging while Im Noktuarium throws majestic harmonies into the mix. While their ideas are solid, the sounds seem to sit uncomfortably beside each other, with the brass in Fern von Jarichs Garten blasting awkwardly between the racing guitar riffs. The black metal sounds fully formed, particularly in Uber den Bannstein and Im Schoß der welken Blatter which ooze with misanthropy, but the atmospheric sounds seem to disrupt in jolting breaks to weak sounding instruments rather than complimenting each other.
Eis have proved once again with this album that they can hold their own on the black metal scene, but it seems unlikely it will win over any further followers. While the album is infinitely listenable and at points enjoyable, there’s nothing about it that draws you back. The sounds are overdone and the riffs are stale. Far from being an individual, the music could back any old school black metal band without seeming out of place. With a wealth of bands doing the atmospheric black metal sound well, this leaves the album with little replayability. When it comes to what I’ll be blasting through my speakers for a dose of grimness, this album will unfortunately not be making the cut.
Review by Caitlin Smith