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7.9/10 Chaim

SICHELSTEIN - Sichelstein - CD - Valse Sinistre - 2011/2014

Sichelstein is the brainchild of a multi-media artist by the name of Vanson, a Czech born musician who now resides in Germany and whose musical tastes and albums vary quite a bit, from electronic music to black metal to anything and everything in between. Its self-titled album, released back in 2011, was probably one of Valse Sinsitre's most interesting and accomplished releases of that very year. The style bears similarities with label-mates Hypomanie, who excel in depressive rock of the shoegaze-y type.

As a side note, Sichelstein's style might also be categorized as post-black metal, even though the shoegaze genre predates what we perceive today as black metal by at least a decade; and so dubbing this brand of rock as being post something that had not even been born when shoegaze/post punk ruled supreme seems a little absurd. In truth, this is a circular process: one style feeding off its predecessors, the successors of which feed off both and while updating the sound, they also make it sound anachronistic and retro.

Take, for example, this mini album. It could have been recorded in the beginning of what is known as the "dark eighties," feeling quite comfortable among bands such as Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Coil, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus, Joy Division and such; but this very album, on the other hand, couldn't have been born hadn't the artist behind it known something about black metal, because it flirts with black metal so much that it practically begs the listener to regard it as such: a black metal product, with its semi-epic sounscapes, frantic and - for all intents and purposes - insane vocals, the depraved atmosphere, the skeletal tunes and the black metal-ish guitar sound. It all sounds grey here, and crumbling and desolate and empty - just the way we like it.

So basically, this album ties both musical eras - the eighties and the nineties - in a seamless bundle rather elegantly, while keeping the melodies simple and digestible, and the atmosphere dense and mysterious. This interesting recording will probably find its place in the hearts of those who have lived through both eras and have seen how the punk revolution becomes more electronics-dependent, colder and more depressing than ever before; and how that very youth angst has transformed into hate-filled, less apologetic, more in-your-face type of rock 'n' roll we recognize nowadays as black metal.

The album has apparently been given a new-ish version in 2014, with new artwork and an added bonus track. All in all, Sichelstein is still a potent musical endeavor having the potential of becoming a highly addictive musical experience. You can listen to it in its entirety on the artist's bandcamp site and obtain a copy. You need this album in your collection. (7.9/10)


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