The second full-length from German crust-informed black metal act Hermann merely refines a conceptual unity among four members of Berlin’s celebrated black metal underground that began in 2014. Composed of members of Essenz, 100000 Tonnen Kruppstahl, and Sunshine and Lollipops the project reconnects within a dirge-like reenactment the sledged aggression of ‘Prinzhorn Kolloquium’ (2015) that doesn’t go further outside of the box than it needs to. ‘Disart Brut: Mausoleum’ does however bring in a more plodding pace and subtle experimentation that drives Hermann‘s dark blackened punk sound further from the more predictable traps of either sub-genre. There is a certain atonality to the experience that serves a near-psychedelic darkness you’d expect from an occult black metal record; Elements of death metal and a pace comparable to a grindcore/crust album from the mid 90’s keeps the 40 minute album moving forward but do little to detract from the brooding focus of the record.
Introspective tonality made propulsive by punkish structures begins to threaten the listener with an album that is equally accessible and distantly aggressive. To suggest that ‘Disart Brut: Mausoleum’ will be an easy listen for either an established black/crust metal fan or black metal enthusiast might create expectations that would serve to dilute the middle ground Hermann have created with this record. The true mark for this album might actually be the open-minded sludgecore fan who enjoys both extremes of crust punk and black metal but only wants them used as stylistic markers, aesthetics guiding a sludged-out gnashing and rabid whole. No track achieves this better than “Die Pauke Vier Mal”, a droning track that finds Hermann at their most doom-capable. Unfortunately I don’t think everything comes together in terms of memorable songwriting outside of this track.
Black/death metal influences help to amp up some interest on “Der Marder. Angstmilch. Amputation” and “Zitzenwald” but those moments slightly clash next to the crust punk influences and make for an album that peaks in it’s middle and then becomes most brutal as it ends. This ultimately makes the crust influences appear superfluous and with several listens of the full album I would end up wanting more punk/grind beats to help define the record a bit more. Although Hermann‘s second album is a nice progression beyond their debut the pacing still perplexes me a bit, and it seems to indicate their collaboration still has more to discover in terms of combining their influences into something hard-hitting. On the other hand ‘Disart Brut: Mausoleum’ is refreshingly different than most blackened crust you’ll hear in 2018 and that is even more of a success than further conceptual polishing could ever have accomplished. Recommended for black/crust/sludge fans, particularly those that speak German.
Zum Todesschlaf ist keiner müde. 3.0/5.0
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