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August 2012
Released: 2012, Eisenwald
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Germ is not a band I’ve previously heard of before but after looking at the brief Bio I was given with the album Wish I was intrigued to experience their music for myself and hear the new Wish album. It states in the bio that ‘GERM is the experimental solo project of Tim (Austere (rip), Grey Waters, ex-Nazxul, etc). The debut album, Wish, is a journey into a twisted mind. From horrific shrieks to beautiful vocal melodies, from ferocious blast beats to haunting atmospheric passages to electronic pop and everything in between, Wish is everything fans of an emotive style of heavy music could have hoped for.’

Well the album certainly starts of in an impressive way with the majestic song ‘An Overdose On Cosmic Galaxy’ which sounds similar to the material on the Am Universum album by Amorphis. Fusing elements of Progressive and Depressing Black Metal with soaring melodic vocals it brings an uplifting experience listening to this track which definitely empowers the music. However I do find that the Black Metal vocals that kick through midway through the song sound more hilarious than serious, as it honestly just sounds like a woman shouting “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” over and over again more than anything else and took me back to the hysterical screeching of Varg Virkenes in some of Burzum’s early albums that by all accounts just detracted away from the frankly brilliant music.

The next track on the album is ‘Asteroid Of Sorrow’, which starts off with more of a Black Metal feel than the first song, but again the vocals kick in like some kind of fucking Nazghoul screech from Lord Of The Rings and despite loving the Nazghoul, I’m not particularly wanting to hear them do lead vocals for a Metal band. This is a real shame as the rest of the music on this track really is great. The melodic vocal lines are well written and nicely recorded. The band all sounds great and the guitar solos are really excellent. Not to mention the soaring String Sections accompanying the music just continue to add to that epic Grim & Frostbitten feel of the music.

Third track is a song called Oxygen which from the looks of the Bio was of course inspired by the brilliant electronic music artist Jean Michel Jarre. The track starts off in the same kind of feel as Jarre’s epic ethereal masterpieces, with lots of dreamy layered keyboards and synth lines before then kicking into ‘Breathe In The Sulphur/A Light Meteor Shower’ which is a slow paced heavenly vocal dirge that builds and becomes more heavy and epic throughout the track and explodes into a Blast Beat orchestral extravaganza at the end. By this point the screeching vocals of the previous songs seems slightly lower in the mix and a bit more tolerable, but I still do think that this element to the music is something that people will either love or hate and at the moment I’m understanding the approach but not convinced that the melodic vocals aren’t the better option for this band.

The next short interlude track is a song called Gravity which is where the album gets even more interesting. As the stylistic approach seems to shift entirely from depressing Black Metal to a short and very brief almost Synth Pop-esque track which took me by surprise at first and I thought my ITunes had gone onto Shuffle Mode rather than playing the album out in sequence. It’s a track which perks up the ears of the listener which I guess can only be a good thing as it keeps your attention fixed on the album. The following track is ‘Flowers Bloom and Flowers Fall, But I’m Still Waiting’ which has a nice arpeggiated keyboard line leading into the track with again lovely string lines to accompany the rest of the band, but I can’t help but feel once more that the continuing high pitched screeching vocals just detract away from what really is such good music.

Another short electronic interlude then comes in the form of ‘Infinity’ with has a nice cosmic, space themed sound to it again not unlike the workings of Jean Michel Jarre, before leading into the track ‘Your Smile Mirrors The Sun’. This track burst in with fast paced old school style Blast Beats and soaring backing vocal harmonies and again the screeching vocals kick through but on a more up-tempo track like this then the vocals seems to work slightly better. The track reminds me a lot of bands like Absu and Wolves In The Throne Room in the sense of it being more progressive and atmospheric than most Black Metal and the music is more about creating its own musical atmosphere for the theme rather than having to conform to the traditional Norwegian stereotypes of the music. The track seems to become finished before it’s really kicked into gear though and before you know it you’re onto the last outro track of the album which is the slow solo Piano track of Wish to bring the album to a close.

I’d love to give this album a 4 out of 5 as it is something that is certainly very different to anything else you’ll most likely hear, but for me personally I think firstly the high pitched screeched vocals did kind of spoil what was most certainly very beautifully arranged music and secondly I think if this project continues in the direction it’s headed then the music will undoubtedly improve over time and they will end up achieving an album that is worthy of the 4 out of 5 spot.

For now though I will give the album a 3 out of 5 and recommend it for serious fans of Progressive/Depressive Black Metal who want to hear something of a somewhat more uplifting feel rather than the all out slit your wrists effect.

Review by Joffie Lovett
Track Listing

1. An Overdose On Cosmic Galaxy
2. Asteroid Of Sorrow
3. Oxygen
4. Breathe In The Sulphur / A Light Meteor Shower
5. Gravity
6. Flowers Bloom And Flowers Fall, But I'm Still W
7. Infinity
8. Your Smile Mirrors The Sun
9. Wish


Tim (solo project)

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