Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Album Review: Die Saat - "Niedergang"

Die Saat - Niedergang

Band: Die Saat (Germany)
Album Title: Niedergang
Label: EE Records (Germany)
Released: 2002

Die Saat has quietly become one of my favorite bands in the pagan metal genre. But, to be perfectly honest, I initially hated their music. It actually took me a few months before I would bother to sit through the first album, Niedergang, and it quickly began to grow on me.

This Thuringian band plays Viking metal with German lyrics. At this point, the band consisted of guitarist/vocalist Sturm, guitarist Tormentor, bassist Eofperaz, and keyboardist Ardor. The vocals on Niedergang are delivered mainly in a distorted shriek, though there are also clean vocals, though not to the extent that they would be used on later releases. Production is raw for a Viking metal album, especially one that is attempting to sound so epic. That is the reason why I initially disliked the CD. The keyboards are a major part of the overall sound, yet on this album they sound like cheap toy keyboards. When epic parts are played (like on the excellent "Adler der Asgard") it is somewhat frustrating that the keyboards have such a weak sound when the arrangements are so good. Another problem is the weak drum machine. It is well-programmed, but it doesn't provide as good a backbone for the music as a real drummer or a better quality drum machine would have.

Though these initial frustrations were enough to keep me from enjoying this album for a while, I'm glad that I was able to eventually get past them, because this is a good album. Although not as fully-realized as on Der Schlachten Tribut or Wir Laden Zum Feste, the songwriting and arrangements on Niedergang are very good. Keyboardist Ardor (if that is indeed him playing... it may be Sturm) is given a chance to shine in the great closing track, "Armageddon." It was on this track (as well as the aforemented "Adler der Asgard") that I received the best glimpse as to what Die Saat would achieve in the future. Everything really comes together on this track.

Though I don't enjoy Niedergang as much as the later Die Saat releases, it still provides a great look at a young band with a lot of ideas and ambition. It is music full of passion and nobility.

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