Germany’s newest black metal upstart Kankar are prepping for a great spiritual and constitutional conflagration with new album, Dunkle Millennia (Eisenwald). Throughout the album’s 11 songs, the duo — Stríð (vocals, guitar, bass) and Plágan (drums) — pose heavy questions to their audience. Do they comply with the status quo, in which humans shield their primal instincts using a variety of moral, religiously-contrived platitudes? Or, do humans untether their long-caged urges for a freer concept of self. Actually, that’s just touching the surface on Dunkle Millennia, a German-language based album. Diving into Kankar’s misanthropic missive will require an English-German dictionary and a lot of metaphorical understanding.
Formed in 2016 in Thuringia, Kankar originates from a wellspring of cultural and artistic heritage. None other than Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe hailed from the central German state. So, it stands to reason the young Ludowingians are drawing from and being inspired by that which came before them. Indeed, Dunkle Millennia writhes in its own import, extreme and coarse yet refined and musical. Kankar are not classicists in terms of Baroque music or Romantic prose, but there’s enough compositional sophistication and sturm und drang sentiment riddled through and torched into songs like “Gier,” “Zerfall des Lichts,” “Festmahl für die Krähen,” and “Vergeltung” that it’s quite effortless to understand what’s in and the fuel that drives Kankar’s engine room.
Say Kankar: “Dunkle Millennia is an album whose concept relates to particular primal human instincts that slumber in each and every one [of us]. It was our idea to portray them in their disgust and in their indisputable presence within us. Of course, it is a very pessimistic and misanthropic path in which the music and the lyrics wander, but we decided to create a construct…food for thought, if you will, that builds upon the listener. We want the listener to reflect on this construct, so, if possible, the listener can change, even if only a little. For example, are things like greed (opening track “Gier”) or lust (second track “Krater in Sarx”) or envy (seventh track “N.E.I.D.”) emotionally-bound feelings that are confronting all of us within our lives? And as with every emotion: the dose is crucial for the poison. The only song not fitting in this concept is “Thüringer Schwarzmetall,” which is, of course, the only personal thing we wanted to have on the album, since both of us were born in Thuringia.”
Fans of Windir, Vreid, and Lunar Aurora take note! A new potent force is rising from the German heartland! Bring on Dunkle Millennia!