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'Black Forest Metal'
(Metropolis Records)

jools green

Jools Green

Hanzel Und Gretyl

Hanzel Und Gretyl, the Teutonic industrial duo, are back with their latest release, full length number seven 'Black Forest Metal' and the first thing that strikes you is how much darker and as the title suggests, more Metal, this release is, an aspect that was explored on their 2008 offering 'Zwanzig Zwӧlf' and to a lesser extent 2012s 'Born To Be Heiled'.

This time around they have really "gone for it" so to speak, with a strongly defined, blackened death Metal leaning.

The Teutonic element is still there in abundance at the core of their sound and there is still that tongue in cheek element that runs through all their releases. They are still a couple who, although they take their music seriously, enjoy that element of humour, something that is and hopefully will always be ingrained within their mindset but now there is a darker twist to the humour beginning with the intro, the pseudo-ritualistic incantation, 'Hoia Baciu' which gives a smirking nod to all those pig blood soaked, black Metallers.

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The tongue in cheek approach continues on; 'More Metal Than The Devil', with the humorous outlook apparent in the title, alongside a crushing groove and an insane barrage of thrashy guitar squeals and vocal screams. Gritty and sinister 'Evil As Fukk' is just a clever excuse to see how many times the word "Fukk!" can be skilfully woven into the lyrics of a track. Eat you heart out Fred Durst!!... THIS is how you do it!

The deliberate lyrical contradiction and plodding black Metal groove on 'Burning Witches For Satan' also brought a smile to my face while on 'Big Bad Kyzrwolf' a grainy, haunting version of Prokofiev's 'Peter And The Wolf' runs beneath, adding an interesting touch alongside sinister, spoken vocals and wolf howls.

Keeping the album balanced there is a slightly more serious focus on the other tracks; title track 'Black Forest Metal' is exactly as the name suggests, with sinister gritty blackened guitar work, catchy repeat riffs and lyrics, a thrashy solo and subtle underlying industrial groove, made all the more menacing from the German accent on the vocals, a favourite track with me.

Blood Of My Horns' has the familiar industrial groove you expect, taking a higher profile but with a death Metal undertone, topped off with epic trumpeting horns. 'Hexencraft' has superb slow, dark and dirty death Metal groove with a sinister vocal repeat of "hexencraft!!", another track that made a big impression on me.

On 'Mavro Metalliko' a great build is completed by a powerful vocal roar and the combination of the gut wrenching vocals and addictive gritty groove make a great listen. 'Pentagram Sky' has a sinister and haunting, blackened death Metal feel about it particularly in the lyric department but is a touch too long at seven and a half minutes.

Ending as it began, the album closes on 'Grim Ritual', with rhythmic drums, forest sounds and more ritualistic, demonic incantation style, lyrical chanting.

'Black Forest Metal' could well mark the beginning of a new darker and heavier era, in the words of the duo, "“more Metal than Metal!". If this is the case you won't get any complaints from me. I think this is an excellent progression.

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