Never quite reaching the snow-capped peaks of success enjoyed by their cousins up in Scandinavia, for German black metal bands, the going has always been somewhat tough. With the Norwegians and Swedes having a monopoly on creativity and the Finns flying the flag for extremity and perversion, it’s only the more esoteric of German acts that have gained any real attention with the likes of one-man cult The Ruins of Beverast and the vaguely mystical Secrets of the Moon attracting rave reviews in recent years. So how will Daemonheim, a two man act that never play live, releasing only their third album in a fifteen year career fare in a scene that is becoming far less tolerant of the second-rate than ever before?
Armed with the occasional Satanic lyrical cliché but far more concerned with their mountainous German homeland, Daemonheim play melodically inclined black metal which likes to blast but is often far more interested in veering off on tangents, be they lengthy passages of indulgent noodling, chunky mid-paced riff stomps, or as in the case of second track ‘Zwoelf Ritter’ acoustic sections that really should have been left on the rehearsal room floor. This is a minor shame however as the rest of the track demonstrates a truck load of innovation and progressive flourishes that much improve on laboured opening track ‘Nachtflamme’ and goes some way in elevating the album over traditional frostbitten fare.
Next track ‘Nastrand’ can’t seem to make up its mind if it wants to be Taake or Cynic with the harsher blasting sections repeatedly breaking down in order for the members to noodle for a few seconds and unfortunately rob the track of all momentum. On the other hand, ‘Totenkuss’ adopts a slower, more grinding pace that feels like an epic march over a lethal mountain pass beset by storm and this more measured approach feels like a better fit for the duo’s obvious talents. Unfortunately ‘Harzblut’ commits the cardinal sin of featuring harsh vocals over acoustic guitar lines and it’s low points like this that ensure that while “Tidian” features some good ideas and a nicely avant-garde take on the traditional black metal template, there’s just too many missteps and songwriting faux passes to make this anything other than another near miss for the Germans. Better luck next time, whenever that may be.