Hailing from the Germanic homelands, Festungpresents us with their first full-length offering Der Turm. This is coming from a huge step forward from their previous self titled demo release, as the production quality is much higher, but still retaining the very raw and atmospheric qualities of it all. The song writing, while similar, simply excels much more in Der Turm. The fusions of dungeon synth and black metal is a nice touch, and adds to the medieval aesthetic this act is putting out. A very strong release.
This album runs on for quite a bit, just shy of an hour and a half. But don’t let the length discourage you, as its quite the experience from front to back. The first track Maueris, in my opinion, quite the display for the range that this band and album is able to put out. Starting almost ethereal and very atmospheric quickly devolves into a brutish and darker sound, especially right when the vocals hit in. It just nails the emotion so well. The track goes on for about twenty minutes, with different riffs and guitar pieces all intermingling with one another to create a rather beautiful, albeit, extremely crushing sound. There are calmer ambient dungeon synth parts that help break up the intense guitars and drums, especially towards the end of the track, when the chanting begins. Quite the unnerving but calming feeling it builds.
The rest of the tracks follow a similar formula. Some being straight black metal tracks, with incredible guitar and drum works, while others taking the dark ambient route. Infusing dungeon synth like atmosphere and droning synths that create for an almost psychedelic and dream like feeling while listening to it all. I’ve found my personal favorite track to be the second track Jericho.Its a short track, running on for just under two minutes, but, its the performance on it that completely blew me away. For the most part its a droney, ambient, track. Opening with trumpet synths but transforming into roaring guitar feed-back that is trying to cover up the incredible improvised drum solo. The first time I went through this album, I didn’t pay attention. But after giving it a couple of listens and really giving this track my attention I was just impressed by the drumming going on here. Which makes sense as through out the album the drums were just consistently on point and simply killed it.
The guitars, though, did carry the album. There’s a fine line between being catchy and yet still keeping the dark and brooding nature of the genre its self still intact. I’ve found many of these songs trapped in my head, repeating over and over again. Not satisfied until I’m able to listen to the album again and get that itch.
For being released so early on in the year, I was really blown away by what I heard. This is a band that I’ll be sure to keep a very close eye on, and found my self really wanting more from these guys. There’s just so much detail and little things all through out the album that really made this such a fun listen. Especially if listened to multiple times over. You’ll begin to pick up things you missed the first time. Highly recommend giving this album a listen as this band for sure should be making waves within the underground.