Review: Wallfahrer – Anthologie Der Abkehr (self-released, Apr 27)

With Anthologie Der Abkehr, German newcomers Wallfahrer present a fantastic album of classic atmospheric black metal. No, there’s nothing particularly new here, but the throwback sound is done so well and with just enough originality that there’s nothing I could possibly complain about. Each track is unique without stepping too far from the other parts of the album, and each is over the listener is left with a sense of completeness and satisfaction – but also a burning anticipation for what comes next. Wallfahrer also displays an admirable ear for subtle melody, writing riffs I’d even call catchy but never compromising the atmospheric aspect. A prime example is “Wildes Heer (Epilog Des Herbstes),” which is built upon a number of earworms that prevent it from fading into the background, but the murky soup of effects and the distant howls prevent the melodies from taking over. The musicianship is stellar, the songwriting impeccable, the length perfect… I truly think this album could be appreciated by black metal purists and newcomers alike, and accomplishes the difficult task of simultaneously sounding like a blast from the past and a breath of fresh air.