Weltschmerz (from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness) is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind.
I believe that black metal is such an interesting genre of music because, observed from an outside position, it comes of as traditional and closed towards new ideas and other musical styles; if you really dive into it, however, your perception will soon change and you will begin to see the amount of creativity, experimentation and avantgarde thinking that is to be found in the black metal scene. Black metal has evolved a lot since the 90s and has become a melting pot of ideas, musical styles, artisitic influences and concepts. There is seemingly nothing that hasn’t been tried within the confines of this musical genre, yet many bands still manage to bring something new to the table everyday.
Dutch two-piece act Weltschmerz started their carrier in black metal with works that more or less channelled the black metal of the 90s and they were very good at it. On their upcoming second album Illustra Nos, Weltschmerz doesn’t only evolve as a band, but also create a rather unique and exciting blend of black metal that is at times reminiscent of the 90s, while containing many progressive and experimental elements that make it sound very different and fresh.
The album opener “Until The Bitter End” is a traditional, fast paced, gnarly sounding black metal track with a rock’n’roll groove to it, that will have you bang your head in no time. The drums are definitely my personal highlight on this track, as they are pummeling and unrelenting, yet performed in an organic way with some nice little fills that put a smile on your face.
From then on, the album gets more and more interesting. “Ecce Homo” contains some very nice bass lines, that are higher up in the mix than expected from a black metal record, which I personally love. To my pleasure, this is a reappearing feature of the album. The track’s most surprising element is the cello section at the end, that comes out of nowhere and is so weirdly placed that it’s a delight for fans of avantgarde music. The symphonic/classical elements are a reappearing element on the album and add a lot to its atmosphere.
The album contains lots of great traditional riffs and exciting instrumental sections that reach from acoustic interludes to experimental symphonic segments, as well as many sections that are primarily focused on creating atmospheric walls of sound and suck the listener into a certain emotional state. The whole album is pulled together by great songwriting and a omnipresent dark and brooding atmosphere, and should definitely be experienced in one sitting.
All in all, Illustra Nos is an incredible black metal album that channels all the greatness of the 90s black metal scene and adds a lot of modern and progressive elements to it, resulting in a unique, yet traditional sound that is sure to be enjoyed by fans of oldschool and modern black metal alike.