Geisterfels – „La névrose de la pierre”
Six Raw Records

Nebel founded Geisterfels in 2013. She took her inspiration from bands such as Abigor, Satyricon or Gehenna and tried to recreate the atmosphere that could be found in old school atmospheric black metal.Nabel would incorporate fellow Nice-based multi-instrumentalist Aldébaran (Guillaume Vrac) of Darkenhöld in 2015 and Parisian vocalist Aharon (Griffon, Neptrecus) in 2016.
„La névrose de la pierre” is the tale of a trip, the one of a French poet who visited the Rhine and the Mosel valleys at the end of the nineteenth century. He was amazed by the many castles he found on his path. His poems thus make a parallel between the majestic ruins he’s seen and the sorrows leading one’s mind to collapse.
„La névrose de la pierre” employs much dissonance and varied speeds, as well as an enormously atmospheric production. Take a look at the cover art. Its achromatic tendencies give the listener a feeling of wandering in a frostbitten medieval kingdom around the early 1300s, of course in keeping with the overwhelming atmosphere of the album. It is immediately evident from the cover art that Satyr and Frost feel a yearning to return to the aforementioned Middle Ages, and to escape the monstrosity we call the modern world. This desire permeates the album, transferring the feeling of discontent with the modern world to the listener. This idea is one of the key points that make the album so effective.
We adults lack imagination when compared to children, and we need something to stimulate and trigger the process where all things rational are left behind and only the mysterious remains. This is what „La névrose de la pierre” does to me is an album whose cold majestic atmosphere seems to creep out of your speakers and into your unremarkable little world like a subtle fog; engaging the listener before they even realize what’s happening.It makes me delve into realms that no eye can see, and which exist only in the dark depths of my mind. The song structures are far from predictable and keep the listener engaged from beginning to end through each tempo and mood.Musically, this is fairly unique. The songwriting is dynamic, at complete odds to the relentless droning of Burzum or Darkthrone, and expansive. Compositions meander swiftly from riff to riff, flowing like a river on its winding course: tempos and intensities modulating as the flow increases to a rush, or slows to a gentle ripple; completely eschewing conventional structuring for an epic exploration of musical vistas.The chilling guitar tone cuts through the sound like a blistering snowstorm, only to break into acoustics when they included in the music. Acoustic interludes are not infrequent, lending yet another level of dynamics to the music.Riffs progress melodically; wandering, searching, yearning, but inevitably returning to their tonic roots, tension constantly at work in microcycles of build and release. The structures themselves feel rather loose and floating, not mired in the earth or worldly concerns, but free – wafting in eddies of gentle build and release.
Whips across the drums, varying between speedy blasts, midpaced beats, and powerful rolls and fills. Somehow the drums manage to be icy themselves, possibly related to the cymbal tone.The drums are not an imitation of Death Metal blast-beats, nor are they the result of artificial studio work which, as it happens today, gives drums a totally anti-BM sound that would have been more suited to pop music! Instead, they have a very special feel to them, a sound that typified all Black Metal albums in the first half of the 1990’s. Guitars and drums are both complex and easy to follow, and beneath the buzzing sound of the guitars, appear to infuse the songs with a life of their own. The vocals on „La névrose de la pierre” are not exactly at the forefront, but simply loom in from the background like a spectral shade through a veil of mist. Which brings me to the atmosphere of this album. The only words that come to my mind are „illuminating” and „complete”.
The production is crude and harsh, with an eerie mist like feeling toward it, creating a hardy base for the instruments to work amongst. The guitar sound is almost drowned out within itself the treble is so high, but this makes for good listening, this technique is used in numerous black metal albums, i.e. Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Panzerfaust. For elite black metal fans this will be no surprise but to untrained listeners this album is a shock of primitive black metal at its fullest.There certainly is pure black metal here but also pure and dark melody!One thing to take note of is when to listen to this. To let „La névrose de la pierre” fully envelope you, I would suggest listening to it late at night when it is really dark. It is no hit collection – but a work that can show the listener a world long gone by. Unique in the most positive meaning of the word!