Beginning life in 2010 as the side-project of sole member Stefan Traunmüller, also of obscure bands such as Golden Dawn (thankfully no connection to the Greek Fascist party of the same name) and Wallachia, Rauhnåcht made little impression with debut album “Vorweltschweigen” which apart from a fantastic album cover depicting a scary looking beastie had little to offer an overcrowded black metal scene. Thankfully new record “Urzeitgeist” is a marked improvement, boasting nearly an hour of varied and passionate alpine-themed black metal.
Beginning with the strongly Naglfar flavoured ‘Einsam Ist’s Durch’s Moor Zu Geh’n’ we are immediately pitched into the heart of the misty mountains that gives Traunmüller such inspiration as the catchy, driving riffs and mildly cheesy synth flourishes do their work, indicating that although this is a record with plenty of bite, it’s apparent that melody will play a big part, as any Pagan black metal act worth their salt knows all too well. The title track slows the pace down a bit as Traunmüller demonstrates exactly how much he has at his disposal in the way of talent and ingenuity as far-off chants, gradually building chord progression and a badass, mid-paced Darkthrone style grinding riff make their presence felt. A lot of ground is also covered in the ten minute long ‘Rauhnactskind’ which features a fair amount of icy tremolo picking but never stays in one place for too long.
One of the best things about a record such as “Urzeitgeist” is that while never straying outside of its genre-defined parameters, it makes the best of the resources available to it in a way that never once feels dishonest or strained. A track such as ‘Der Weg Zuruch’ even features some subtle tribal percussion, what sounds like a flute and twanging clean chords alongside the snarling traditional black metal guitar assault and neither part ever feels tacked on or out of place. It’s this restless spirit and willingness to embrace melody and non-traditional instrumentation whilst never losing sight of where he’s coming from that ensures Traunmüller is a musician to cherish. Long may he continue to create music under the Rauhnåcht name and with a bit of luck and label backing he may be able to emerge from the shadows of obscurity, for “Urzeitgeist” is a record that deserves to see as much light as possible.