Black Metal. Do you follow the sounds of the ‘trve’, or do you try and stand out a bit whilst staying within the genres hallmarks? I think this is a question most bands who devote themselves to the cause may ask themselves at least once in their creative lives.
Eis were once known as Geist and built quite a name among the German and European Black Metal scenes. I have no idea why there was a name change. With Stillstand und Heimkehr,this two track EP being the latest release, clocking in at around 22 minutes over two tracks, it is easy to hear why. It is executed with skill and a real love for the genre.
To answer the question in my first paragraph, Eis kind of do a bit of both and they’re all the better for it. First of the two tracks, ‘An den Schwarz Besandeten Gestaden’, opens with the sound of water washing upon a shore and a sparse and melancholic piano lament, which gives way suddenly to pounding minor key black metal in the vein of unholy-trinity-era-Darkthrone. Thankfully though, halfway into the track, we turn a corner. This is when we are treated to a weighty and delightfully foreboding march which would be at home on more recent Marduk albums. Things do pick up the pace again but even under the relentless pounding, Eis make so much space with their noise that its easy to imagine yourself on the precipice that is pictured on the EP’s cover, battered by wintry rain and wind, staring into the abyss.
The second and arguably stronger title track is shorter, just shy of the nine minute mark. It starts more like a doom metal version of Burzum, and it is as good as that sounds. The vocal style, when not shrieking, is reminiscent of say Sakis Tolis or Nick Holmes of Rotting Christ and Paradise Lost, respectively.
This path taken in this track is one I’d definitely be into seeing the band tread down further, with lots of great ideas and atmosphere combining to great effect. Choir like vocals, organ embellishments, numerous tempos, and well placed spoken word parts all add up to a track that demands repeat listens .
Keep an eye on Eis and their next release, as it could be a total masterpiece if this EP is anything to go on.