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German Oak - Nibelungenlied CD (album) cover

NIBELUNGENLIED

German Oak

 

Krautrock

4.44 | 25 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Nibelungs on heavy acids

Second release by instrumental quintet GERMAN OAK, "Niebelungenlied" (The Song of the Nibelungs in English) is a compilation of unreleased and rare material recorded between 1972 and 1976. Compared to their eponymous debut, there are things that remain constant: after WWII, "The Rhine Gold" is another "German" thematic, the cover art is once again not really attractive, the sound quality hasn't improved but the band still explores unusual sonorities.

A copycat of the self-titled opus then? Not at all. If the atmosphere is overall still sinister and psychedelic, the music is much more structured, concise, varied, emancipating from the shores of Krautrock. Shorter and less improvised, the tracks features more changes and the fuzzy guitars are heavier, resulting in somber, stoner and melancholic sonic adventures. Trippier and even more surprising than its predecessor, this second offering never loses the listener.

"The heroic deeds of Siegfried" starts with bells and a small saturated guitars passage sounding like Black Metal several years ahead! It then alternates between a slow heavy psych tune and drum solo. The stoner space-rocking "Nibelungenlied I" is powerful and devastating. This title sometimes gets as epic as HAWKWIND! The main theme of the distorted bluesy "Gunter & Brunhild" can remind the bass-line of "On the Road Again" at times. Concerning "Hagen von Tronje", this track is a dark jam in the style of the first album, while "Siegfried's death" is another heavy stoner.

However, the most surprising composition is certainly the gloomy "Dankwart, Ruediger & Hildebrand". Contrasting with the rest of the record, it simply predates Gothic rock, a few years before the emergence of the genre. Wow! "Dietrich von Bern" is melancholic and beautiful whereas "Nibelungenlied II" is a boosted-up and extended version of "Nibelungenlied I", with numerous spacey changes. This 12 minutes track is maybe the most impressive of the disc, as it can easily dispute the HAWKS's space captain insignia. A dark stoner mini-universe, a burning sonic magma exploding in multiple musical pieces! Mindblowing! Like its name suggests, "Lament" closes the record on a fine sad note.

Once again, it's a pity GERMAN OAK didn't get more success and attention. Really good compositions, original approaches, uncommon sonorities, and even some innovative ideas. Furthermore, the band evolved and explored something different on this astonishing and unique release. For all these reasons, "Niebelungenlied" is a rare black meteorite, a precious gold nugget from space that shall not be forgotten during your space rock exploration.

Contrarily to their eponymous album, we can difficulty hear the link with the thematic, except the epic breath... Nonetheless, there are no lengthy passages and the listener's interest remains constant. If GERMAN OAK's self-titled debut was an experience, this disc is an adventure to the meet Nibelungs from another planet. Don't miss it if you enjoy stoner / space rock and HAWKWIND!

Modrigue | 5/5 |

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