1. Into Depression
2. My Terrifying Mirror
3. In My Shadow
4. Under Feral Skies
5. As the Snow Melted
6. The Murderers
7. Enemies' Blood
8. Saturn
9. Smaragd
10. Frozen in Time

Tim Steffens - Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Florian Toyka - Guitars

Our Journey Through the Woods (2003)
Der Ort(2005)
Klabautamann (EP 2007)
Merkur (2009)
The Old Chamber (2011)

Patrick Schroeder - Drums
Christoph Graf - Guitars
Ingo Kerstjens Vocals (clean)
Chester Gerritse - Vocals (clean)
Anna Murphy - Vocals (clean), Hurdy gurdy
Fredy Schnyder - Hammond Organ
Sebastian Hack - Keyboards
Clemens Toyka - Trombone

Artwork by Costin Chioreanu
Thomas Hansen - Lyrics (tracks 1, 5, 6, 10)
Chester Gerritse - Lyrics (tracks 3, 7)
Matin Wasiri - Lyrics (track 8)
Tim Steffens - Recording, Mixing
Armin Rave - Mixing, Recording (bass), Mastering
Florian Toyka - Mastering

Released 2017-06-06
Reviewed 2017-08-15



Klabautamann is a way of writing Klabautermann, a goblin that predicts shipwrecks – that has to be described as a fairly interesting name for a band. And this nautical sensation is coming up in the very attractive artwork for their fifth album that has been named Smaragd; a nine track, 53-minute progressive black metal creation that pushes the boundaries and explores more unconventional ways to make black metal. The latter if you read the press release that accompanied the album. And I have to admit that until now this Klabautamann has been completely unknown to me so this is my first taste of what this German black metal duo has to offer. And what better time for me to step in than at a time when clean vocals will play a crucial role in the album, for the first time in their career that stretches all the way back to the previous millennium.

And black metal might not really be it; I wouldn’t describe these guys as black metal. They are a progressive band of the extreme metal kind, sure there are some black metal elements but they are quite melodic and the dark and heavy stuff plays a somewhat supporting role to the soundscape in full. There is plenty of room for melodies and variation, good clean vocals, some raspy growls and even some female vocals. It ranges from being quite soft and atmospheric to being black metal, and the sound is really strong – I think this is a great production. The 53 minutes the album plays just flies by and before you know it, the end comes with female vocals and fantastic melodies. The epilogue is just brilliant. The album itself is also quite great and fans of progressive music should have a look, as it is quite adventurous and a lot fresher than most of the stuff seeing the light of day these days.

Clever, with great songs and much less predictable than most that is being released these days makes Smaragd an album to pay attention to. It is a strong adventure with strong songs, though I could do without some of the black metal stuff, it usually works but some of it is quite dull compared with the album as a whole. And black metal vocals can never really be made to sound good no matter what you do, but overall this is an exciting album that I have listened a fair bit to these last couple of weeks and I think it is a worthwhile album. Besides some dull black metalism it is difficult to find anything to be negative about when it comes to this album, and the ending track is wonderful – that is a track that I really like so I certainly leave this album with the best of feelings.

This shipwrecking goblin certainly knows how to do things, spicing up black metal with some greatness, that isn’t something I hear every day and that should be applauded. I always think that bands doing something a little different and less predictable should be acknowledged and these guys certainly do that. And they not only do that, they do it really well too – that, along with the great artwork makes this an album to check out.



Label: Zeitgeister Music
Three similar bands: Enslaved/Negură Bunget/Ulver

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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