Artist: Luftwaffe Raid
Album Title: Empire
This is the first full-length album from Luftawffe Raid, a WWII themed one-man American band playing chaotic black metal.
The guitar sound on this album is on the clear side, at least for black metal, with plenty of heaviness. The vocals are a throaty croak, but show some range now and again, and even drop to a whisper. The drums are surprisingly competent for a one-man band - they're not perfect, but they work fine with the music, and they're much better than a drum machine would have been.
This is a concept album about World War II, as seen from the German perspective. There are occasional unified moments, but for the most part, the metal parts of this album are built from layers of chaotic, counterpoint riffing. Melody is often present, but is just as often fractured by atonality. For example, "The End Is Near" is purely melodic, but precedes "DAK", a rough blast-fest of a song. Halfway through that one is a completely bizarre breakdown (footsteps? coughing?) and a bit of singing in German, and then the music comes back in abruptly. Weird, but it works, and the vicious riff immediately after the breakdown more than makes up for any inconvenience the song might have caused you. Roughly half of this album consists of sampled speeches, newsreels, and other historical clips. These support the album's theme, and add some atmosphere. Most of the German samples have English translation, which is rather nice for those of us who don't speak German. There are also a few ambient tracks, with sounds from the period and such.
I like this album. Some things about it come off as somewhat unpolished, but the songwriting is solid, the concept is cool, and the songs themselves have plenty of power. If you're looking for straightforward black metal, don't bother with this one... but if you don't mind some experimentation, this is well worth a listen. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Red Sky at Night", "Sieg Sieg Sieg", "DAK"