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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rainer Landfermann

Mein Wort in Deiner Dunkelheit

Review by Gary Hill

I am absolutely certain plenty will disagree with me landing this under progressive rock. Yes, there is a lot of extreme metal built into this. I'd argue, though, that it has closer ties to the Rock In Opposition movement than it does to heavy metal. This is far stranger than most metal. It's also very artistic and ambitious. Other than the extreme metal vocals, a number of these pieces have no metal built into them. There is plenty of classical music, jazz and fusion here, too. All that said, I nearly put this under metal, but ultimately decided that progressive rock was a better fit. Whatever you call it, though, this is not for everyone. It's very extreme and bizarre. The lyrics are all in German, too. Still, if you enjoy extreme music that is not only outside of the box, but actually has thrown that box away altogether, you are likely to find plenty to latch onto here.

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Track by Track Review
Langsam, hinters Licht
Classical elements bring this into being. As an almost jazzy guitar enters, strange electronics and weird voices are added to the mix. This is bizarre and a bit unsettling. It has some decidedly artsy and proggy jamming, and even shifts toward jazz in an instrumental movement later in the piece. This is strange, but also oddly cool.

Jazzy piano brings this into being. The cut literally screams out from there into strange metal of the extreme variety. This seems really freeform and disturbed. It is also the kind of thing that is hard to ignore. Weird as it is, it's also compelling in a strange way. This is complex and full of weird changes. It works to a piano led, melodic movement later in the track. Weird vocals come over the top as it begins to shift into heavy and crazed territory. There is some pretty amazing guitar soloing that emerges over the top further down the road.

Screaming hot guitar brings this number into being. The cut works out from there to one of most mainstream sections of the disc. It has an almost epic metal texture to it. It gets extreme and strange as it continues. The shifts and changes bring a decidedly progressive rock type of vein to it. The cut keeps shifting and changing like an extreme metal take on Rock In Opposition. There are chorale vocals lending a different flavor, too. Those are contrasted with literal screaming.
Wir fehlen alle
Extremely down-tuned elements open this. The cut moves forward with a dark, classical music style. Screamed vocals come over the top of this backdrop. This turns decidedly heavy and metallic as it drives forward later, but it's still twisted into a strange artistic approach. There is a drop back for a return of those classical elements mid-track. The cut never really returns to the metal from there, but it does gets heavier.
Schneller als Sehnsucht, Größer als Eins
Extreme metal is on the menu from the beginning on this piece. This thing is literally screaming, frantically paced and so strange. It makes its way through some pretty odd changes and movements. It remains more purely metallic than some of the others do, though.
Piano starts this in a rather dark arrangement. Other elements join, bringing a bit of a jazz meets classical approach. Chorale vocals create accents on this. Then an extreme metal growl rises up to join. The music takes on an even more classical approach as the vocals bring the metal fire. Some organ is added to the mix from there, bringing an almost movie soundtrack vibe somehow. Then after the minute-and-a-half mark the extreme metal pounding fires out as the cut screams onward. It gets quite weird before shifting out to a nearly pure fusion jam from there. It works to more melodic and rather mellow proggy stuff at the end of that, but a blast of extreme metal changes things again.
This comes in with a screaming jam. That opening section works through and gives way to a melodic jam that is more of a traditional prog thing, but the extreme blast metal returns after a bit. The contrasting melodic section serves as a counterpoint to it again. The hard-edged section returns, but at the end of it, this works out to an almost theatrical bit of weirdness. That holds it until the next blast of screaming metal emerges.
Genius Drang
The cool jam that opens this is decidedly prog meets fusion oriented. The vocals are screamed, bringing the metal element to it. There is so much RIO built into this things, though. There is a drop back to a mellower, but quite weird section. Then a new metallic, but still rather melodic movement comes in from there, heralding a cool musical passage. Eventually we get some more screaming stuff at the end.
A mellower section with piano and weird musical elements bring this into being. There are spoken bits over the top, and the cut has some strange jazz-like tendencies to it. It works to a rather mellow and melodic movement with an otherworldly texture. Spoken vocals are on display as this continues with the piano providing a lot of the melody. There is so much old-school jazz here that it's a bit scary. The screamed vocals eventually come in over the top bringing a vision of insanity with them. This remains largely in a jazz zone throughout, though, at least musically. There is a decidedly jazz based piano solo built into it, too.
Mein Wort in Deiner Dunkelheit
The opening crescendo is dark and strange. The cut works out from there to a jam that has plenty of extreme metal merged with a prog rock kind of synthesizer based element. After that, it drops back to a piano based arrangement. The prog, mixed with dark weirdness, drives the next movement. Screamed vocals bring a metallic intensity to play, but without those, this is almost pure progressive rock. A mellow and quite pretty piano interlude brings some serious contrast. The melodic vocals that come over the top contribute to the mellow prog vibe of it. The cut rocks out a bit more after a time, but still remains in that more pure prog zone. There is a crescendo that seems to threaten more metal stuff, but the music rises back up with more pure prog stylings. The vocals bring the extreme metal to bear later, but musically it remains more progressive rock oriented throughout its duration.
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