There is so much metal out there today. Better yet, there is so much black metal out there today. And even still, there is SO MUCH “atmospheric” black metal out there today. The further you drill down into every niche, scene and specialty, the more overwhelming it all becomes. For the atmospheric sound, every month seems to bring yet ANOTHER band with pine trees on the album cover, flowing rhythms, and songs about autumnal river mists of rocks and moss and…well, you get the idea. I was ensnared by this style for awhile, but since Agalloch’s breakup and the flooding of lesser bands into the void, I’ve become disillusioned with bands calling themselves black metal but who are so eager to “transcend” it, whatever the hell that means.
Which is why I’m so glad to have stumbled upon Eïs, a German band who specialize in creating a dramatic and captivating atmosphere, but still retain the essential core of the second-wave black metal dynamic. Yes, there’s plenty of atmosphere and nature to go around on albums like Bannstein, or older classics like Kainsmal and Patina (when they went under a different name). But the guitars still rip and tear through the speakers. The vocals are still hoarse, abrasive and in-your-face. And finally, the drums don’t just use the same flowing pattern on every damn song! Think of it like this: take Necromantia’s Scarlet Evil Witching Black and remove the Satanism, then add in some modern Forteresse, perhaps a dose of Sargeist-style melodic-riffing, and then put a sheen of Nemesis Divina-era Satyricon to finish it off.
Sound good? Good, because they came out with a new EP in February, called Stillstand und Heimkehr. Check out the first song below:
Alright, now that you get the idea. Check out this older song from 2006’s Kainsmal, which is my personal favorite in their catalog. They re-recorded it in 2011, but I’d stick with the original, as it’s rawer and you can hear the excellent riffs more clearly. (Especially the riff that comes it at the 4:34 mark…glorious!)
Check out Eïs on Facebook and go see them on some of their European dates this year. Let’s hope an American festival picks them up at some point as well!