Men Among the Ruins
(Changes/Allerseelen Split)

Please note: This is a free and spontaneous and abbreviated translation by Gerhard. To read
Dominik's extended German text click this link

CHANGES/ALLERSEELEN CD Men Among The Ruins (Ewers Tonkunst - Moscow 2006)

Changes are like always, Spartanic folk with sometimes polyphonous vocals but on highest level! Allerseelen are also like always: odd, sensual, powerful and here with a Russian timbre due to the female Russian vocals.

This split release of these two neofolk celebrities from Austria and the United States came out some weeks ago. Changes begin the split album with their characteristic folk. "We Went to Find the Sun" is a wonderful folk pearl, in a kind of high spirits I would even call this the best song of these true gentlemen! It unfolds everything which characterizes this project: partially double vocals, spartanic but virtuous guitar, a strong melody, wonderful poesy, and violins are starting in the second half which is rather extraordinary for Changes. Absolutely perfect, this song which is 4:20 minutes long absolutely is rewarding for the purchase.

Really extraordinary is also the instrumental track "Don Quixote" -- Nicholas Tesluk shows us his superb abilities as guitarist. "The Poet" again features no surprise and we are thankful for this. "The Poet" has the potential of a "mood hit" with again a very beautiful text about the loneliness of the poet.

Changes present themselves after an album like "Orphan In The Storm" which turned a little bit too "modern" for my taste, in an absolute top form. Their three songs on this release are a must for the friends of the project. I am surprised that Changes are still that unknown. Maybe there still exist some fears due to the eventful vita of the old warhorse Robert N. Taylor or due to the label which is not large enough to have an appropriate worldwide distribution. Changes could be a project with an immense impact and one only can hope that this insight will become reality sooner or later.

And now come Allerseelen. Initiates rub their hands as this means that the "entertaining" part of the split album starts: For some years now Allerseelen has the significance of a "danceable" rhythm inspired by DAF and various loops that are united in a sensual ritual or archaic flair reflecting the interests and magical mystery tours of its creator Gerhard (one can read about this in the Aorta booklets which were quite influential for a whole "neofolk generation". Its creator prefers at the moment a description like "Krautpop". Allerseelen are a little bit like an answer on Psychic TV born out of a conservative and revolutionary spirit. But one has to refer to the "Nerd-Factor" which is the strength and at the same time the weakness of Allerseelen: Strength because the music is so unique compared to everything else and because has such an amount of authenticity. Actually no one followed so far the musical path of Allerseelen. Gerhard is alone. Allerseelen´s weakness can only be described in an image: The music is danceable – but Nerds cannot dance at all! This makes Allerseelen so bizarre and always honest.

"Men Among The Ruins" features three very powerful and typical Allerseelen songs. Two of them have female lyrics by a Russian (or Bulgarian?) girl named Drynwhyl who also participates in Svarrogh and even Katatonia. The connoisseur knows: Allerseelen and a female element--this always worked very good in the past, especially on the so special Allerseelen 7" Canco de Somni. In these songs "Serdtse" ("Heart" und "Svyatoe Vino" ("Sacred Wine") it works too, although Drynwhyl sounds rather like a female speaker of the news. Isn't there this Russian news programme during which the female speaker is undressing her while reading the news? Allerseelen could be good in creating a soundtrack for an evening programme like this. Especially "Serdtse" convinces with guitars and piano loops and (Black Metal?) electric guitars.

"Kapli Krasivogo Vremeni" ("Drops Of Beautiful Time") is Allerseelen alone, typical machine gun rhythmic, mysterious loops, and Gerhards raps in his Alpine German a wonderful text about time which was written by Yukio Mishima.

"Men Among The Ruins" lasts just half an hour but this does not matter. Each second is worthwhile. After a long, long time finally again an album having the spirit of old Storm and Cthulhu releases. An absolute must for each neofolker who knows what he is listening too.

Dominik T.

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