Full Album Stream: Markgraf – “Hohenbaden”

Four years after the release of their self-titled first album, German extreme metal entity Markgraf return with their second album, titled Hohenbaden. It’s an exciting and triumphant fusion of black and heavy metal, an album which does not clearly belong to either genre, and you can stream it below via Decibel.

Album opener “Allerheiligen” gets the blood pumping with heavy metal riffs and energetic drummer before vocalist Ódio enters with a laugh and Markgraf are off to the races, combining flashy heavy metal, wild falsetto vocals and traces of first-wave black metal. It’s followed by a quick instrumental track, “Baldreit,” that leads into “Burg Windeck,” which adds yet more black metal-stylings into the heavy metal mix.

Everything feels like an appetizer before the eponymous final track, which takes the band into the most blackened and unhinged territory on Hohenbaden. Incorporating blast beats, tremolo picking, barely-contained guitar leads and falsetto vocals. There’s enough versatility that the 20-minute track doesn’t feel like too much, which is a testament to Markgraf’s songwriting abilities and musicianship.

“It’s meant to be the ultimate second album with all the quirks and ‘Wait, what’s happening there?’ moments that are often typical of sophomore releases,” explains Ódio. “The idea was to incorporate every crazy and awkward idea into the songs so that the audience has no chance to feel safe. Whether it’s War Black Metal interrupted by symphonically underscored slam passages, or a dream pop-inspired part enhancing the storytelling – it’s still a great homage to the first wave of black metal. Experimental heavy metal bands are also celebrated.”

You can listen to Hohenbaden in full below and visit their Bandcamp page for info on digital and vinyl versions of the album, which is out tomorrow, May 10.