Review: Ateiggär – Us D’r Höll Chunnt Nume Zyt
Rolls right off the tongue.
We heard a lot of cool black metal last year, but it was black metal of a pretty specific kind that stood out to me the most and seemed to come up again and again. Several folks here really dug Funereal Presence, Richter introduced us to the synth-heavy stylings of Ringarë, and Karhu’s black metal roundup dusted off Departure Chandelier. What all of these bands had in common was that they took us back to the 90s with a genuinely old school sound, but none of them were content to merely ape the masters, instead making said sound their own by adding individual twists. Late in the year, Swiss project Ateiggär joined their ranks with their debut Us d’r Höll chunnt nume Zyt (“From hell comes only time”).
Like the other projects, Ateiggär is not afraid to make ample use of synths, which colour in the otherwise black-and-white compositions. The intro sets the mood and the first proper track wastes no time in establishing their important role in the music with a soaring, piercing choir sound effect. Vocal emulation is a primary task of the synths, but strings and piano sounds are also used quite often. None of it ever sounds cheap, which almost puts the effects at odds with the lo-fi shredding that the rest of the music revels in, but the result never sounds incongruous. Thanks to a great mix, the synths don’t stand out unnaturally or overshadow the rest of the music, rather elevating it every time they come in.
So that’s all great, but what about the rest of the music? As said, there’s a lot of lo-fi shredding. Tremolo riffs and blast beats are to be expected, of course, and while they’re very predominant, the compositions never feel stagnant, never too preoccupied with grimness to not shake things up in fun little ways. Frequent tempo changes and unexpected little gems like the skank beat towards the end of “En Blinde names Duracotus” do a lot to stave off boredom. This particular part also offers great examples of two more noteworthy aspects. First, the transition into it is carried solely by the bass guitar, which is nicely audible throughout the record—another case in point for the great production. Second is the way the singer then kicks off the part itself with a hearty “UGH!”—an important feature of old school black metal that seems neglected too often these days. Equally important are moments like the beginning of the title track, where the eruption of the blast beat is accompanied by a mean cackle. When’s the last time you heard a black metal singer laugh outside of an Abbath interview? There aren’t many of these instances (it’s probably really easy to overdo them), but they add a lot to the charm of Ateiggär.
While there is a sufficient amount of variety present on Us d’r Höll chunnt nume Zyt, the variety is spread out equally across everything rather than serving to make individual songs stand out more. At times, it’s easy to lose yourself as everything tends to blend together a bit. Nonetheless, this is a more than worthy addition to your collection if you appreciate any of the records mentioned in the beginning—with which I actually have similar problems, but I greatly enjoy the sound and how creatively all these bands operate within their nostalgic confines.