Back in 2005, Dämmerfarben was the work of just one man. Blackheart Nostarion set out on a solo quest, producing a demo in 2006 before acquiring the help of bassist Fergen Grimnir and drummer Christopher Duis for debut full-length ‘Im Abendrot’. The second album from the German multi-instrumentalist marks a new phase in the band’s existence. The arrival of three tantalising additions to the Dämmerfarben ranks has changed the instrumental dynamics, particularly widening the scope of the band’s folk potential.
‘Herbstpfad’ is as emotionally charged and beautifully romantic as debut ‘Im Abendrot’, but the addition of some gorgeous accordion playing courtesy of Enid’s Martin Wiese, some unique touches of Swedish, string folk instruments (Nyckelharpa et al) from Magnus Holmström and some heartrending icy vocals from Emma Björling makes the album more varied. Even if Björling’s contribution is exclusively on ‘Vintervisa’, her voice brings an organic feel and natural atmosphere to the lovely closing track. As well as accordion, Wiese makes the transition to keyboard too and it makes its biggest impact on ‘Zu nächtlicher Stund’ with an airy choir giving an extra punch to some already-powerful doomy verses.
What’s refreshing on ‘Herbstpfad’ is that – even though Dämmerfarben have made some obvious musical changes with the addition of the new members – the German act don’t overdo or flaunt the obviously talented folk section. The balance is well-thought-out, with three smaller tracks more concentrated on the acoustic folk elements and four larger songs that still have a folk emphasis of course, but go electric. Nostarion’s cello-playing is again on top form, reverberating deeply and holding the fabric of the folk sections together. But it’s not all about the folk. Pleasingly, Dämmerfarben still hold the potential to lace into a brooding storm of melodic black metal as drummer Christopher Duis shows best on the excellent ‘Und Winters Kälte kehret ein’.
The only real detrimental factor of ‘Herbstpfad’ is its length. Weighing in at just over 30 minutes, the experience is sweet but unfortunately short. With an already-impressive setup, it’ll be fascinating to see how Dämmerfarben develop when they’re an even more cohesive musical force. 8/10
Reviewed by Calum Robson.
Herbstpfad is out now on Northern Silence.