Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
ColdWorld - Melancholie² CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.39 | 28 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Melancholie' - Coldworld (96/100)

I'll get my grand declarations out of the way first. Melancholie² is probably the prettiest black metal album ever made. If not that, it' at least the prettiest one I've heard. I came across the work of Georg Börner and his project ColdWorld around the time this debut came out in 2008. I'd been searching for new depressive black metal to match a fittingly tenuous stage in my life. "My Dead Bride" was the first ColdWorld song I ever heard, and I can think of few times where a band's been able to leave such an impression on me with less than three minutes of music.

Having been listening to this album for almost a decade now, I can understand the detractors' criticisms of Melancholie². It's admittedly hyperbolic in its sentimentality, and despite its lo-fi fuzz there's an all-too clean sense of refinement in the way the material is executed. But with all that said, recognizing these would-be gripes in the years since hasn't stopped me from seeing it as a near-perfect work of art. Whenever I listen to it, ColdWorld takes me to a very specific place emotionally. I am leagues more embittered when it comes to black metal than I ever was back in 2008, but, like a trusted friend you fall in and out of contact with over the years, there is a warm comfort in hearing Melancholie². It's an album I feel like I've grown with to the point of extreme familiarity. Ironically, that fact makes the album extremely difficult to review.

Brushing aside my personal biases towards Melancholie² for a moment, let's cover the basics. Coldworld had released a promising demo and solid EP before this, but there wasn't special reason to believe that ColdWorld would be coming out with a masterpiece, come the debut. Despite an admittedly silly name ("Melancholy squared? Melancholy to the power of two? Square multiplication ist krieg?") there are precious few atmospheric black metal bands that seem to tap into some well of perfection. Whether you love or shrug off ColdWorld, "perfection" is hopefully a word we can all agree on, although we may take the term for different meanings. A seemingly raw, lo-fi blanket covers the sound-- the likes of which you've heard in a thousand other one-man BM projects. On Melancholie² however, listening to it the album intently enough, it doesn't have that cloudy murk of usual raw black metal. Hell, it doesn't even feel raw to me. It's as lo-fi as anything else, to be sure, but it sounds like Georg Börner has gone the extra mile towards taking all aspects of the sound under his control.

Some will interpret this move as a mark of dryness. That could not be further from the truth. Putting tight wraps on the sound design would be a call to boredom in lesser hands, but ColdWorld emerged on the scene already under the spell of a master. Burzum is the obvious frontrunner of the atmospheric end of black metal, and off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who rivalled Vikernes in terms of vision and lo-fi magic like this guy. That sounds like lavish praise to be giving to a project with a single album out, and it is, but the warmth isn't without good reason. ColdWorld stands out in virtually every way, in a genre that is notorious for sameness and throwaway acts. If Georg found a perfection in the execution, he mirrored it with his compositions. There's no subtlety in the music's emotional pull, but there doesn't need to be. ColdWorld's bleeding, melodic heart echoes the very best composers from the Romantic-era, where complexity was streamlined in favour of feeling. "Dream of a Dead Sun", "Red Snow" and "My Dead Bride" are meticulously structured and performed, but the resulting atmosphere gives the music all the life it could ever need.

ColdWorld succeeds as a DSBM record, bringing melodies and songwriting tact into a style they're sometimes absent from. "Tortured by Solitude" is one of those atmospheric black metal tracks that feels instantly familiar the first time you hear it, with overwhelming, tragic feelings belying the calculated approach. The archetypal depressive "woe is me" mentality comes through most noticeably on "My Dead Bride" and "Red Snow", but there are parts here that nearly sound cheerful by comparison. If there are any gripes of my own I can spot with Melancholie², it's the cheery break at the end of "Hymn to Eternal Frost". I get that ColdWorld is not a depressive act in the conventional sense, but a build-up that sounds like it's part of some lifeloving gazer band. Coldworld is at its best when the music surrenders to the negativity, trying to find catharsis through it rather than negation.

The pristine exploration of ambient ColdWorld shows on "Winterreise" is another mark of proof that the project can (and should) be compared on favourable grounds with Burzum. Almost everything Melancholie² touches turns to a pristine gold. And if I'm more jaded about it now that I used to be, I still love it as much as I ever have. There are so, so many of these one-man acts that try to do what ColdWorld do, but I don't know of any that come so close to the mark, and especially not on their first try. If I were to guess, I'd say the perfection stems from the fact that Georg Börner is all too happy to be making music the way he wants to, uncompromiing in the face of what people might be searching for in black metal. Turn up all the emotions to 11? Why not. Throw a theremin and electronic beats onto your closer "Escape" and casually push the definition of genre itself? Absolutely. The things that make Coldworld distinct from the rest could be loved or hated dependent on what you're searching for. I know where I stand, at least. An album I've been putting on on-and-off for a significant percentage of my life has got to have something going for it.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this COLDWORLD review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.