If Warning, The Gathering (with Anneke) and Left Hand Solution are part of your doom metal inner circle, then ready yourselves for a new member: Flame, Dear Flame. The Germany-based doom metal outfit–featuring David Kuri (guitars), Jan Franzen (drums), Maren Lemke (vocals), and Martin Skandera (bass)–formed in 2017, and after an independently-released EP, The Millennial Heartbeat, in 2019, the morose quartet signed a deal with upswinging indie Eisenwald (Uada, Agalloch). Indeed, time has come for Flame, Dear Flame’s debut full-length, Aegis, a two-part story that finds us traveling back in time to when doom metal was earning its wings through exploration of other genres. To wit, fans long in the game will recognize Kuri’s penchant for Warning-like riffs and The Devil’s Blood-like retro solos. Even more, Lemke’s delicate, sometimes despondent vocals have parallels to halcyon-days Anneke van Giersbergen and Kari Rueslåtten, with smatterings of popular singer-songwriter Norah Jones thrown in for balance.
Across Aegis, Flame, Dear Flame travel reflectively through wind-blow meadows, ancient graveyards, and into angry seas. The first part, “The Millennial Heartbeat Part,” is a doom metallers delight, glacial, towering, and blue. That it sort of ends–on “The Millennial Heartbeat Part III”–with a minor nod to mid-’90s black metal (riffs only, of course) is not only a surprise but an interesting convergence of genres rarely paired. The second part, “The Wolves and the Prioress Part I,” offers an even more delicate side to Flame, Dear Flame. The elongated riffs persist as do the soulful splashes of solo, but they’re buttressed by acoustic passages and more spartan songcraft. It’s here where Lemke shines, too. Prediction: the four tracks that comprise the second section will prove out to be fan favorites.
As for the lyrical content of both sections, Flame, Dear Flame inform Decibel thusly: “Aegis is comprised of two parts that each tell a different story. The first half ‘The Millennial Heartbeat’ tells of the ocean, of its heart that only ever beats every thousand years and of curiosity. It is both a genesis and a thanatography in what might be a never-ending circle. We are working with the strong contrast of Maren’s delicate and floating vocals against a slow and crushing doom background.
“‘The Wolves and the Prioress,’ the second half of the album, tells the story of a feral child and of a prioress who places the child under her aegis. Throughout the four tracks, the emotions of rational fear and irrational anxiety play a key role. Led by this very different narrative, we created a separate facet of Flame, Dear Flame, in which the oppressive and dark moments are counterpointed with more fragile, natural acoustic tones.”
Join Flame, Dear Flame as they excite our mid-’90s hearts and souls with the full-album stream of new album, Aegis.