Valborg – Romantik (2015) – First of all, Germany’s Valborg doesn’t sound a thing like Type O Negative and I’m still not certain as to which strand of media started spreading that opinion, because it’s absolutely false.
Additionally, Romantik is actually the band’s fifth full-length record, as they made a new release every year from 2009 – 2012. The band classifies as a brand of progressive doom/death, but there’s obviously something a little more hypnotic and creepy about the act than you’d hear with most progressive doom/death or progressive death metal acts. It’s certainly experimental, I will say that much; and it will most certainly appeal to those who are looking for something that sounds both dreary and unusual at the same time. The record is absolutely loaded with funerary organs and riffs that also feel as though they are in mourning, which might musically lend itself to the much publicized Type O Negative style. But let’s be honest here; Jan Buckard is most certainly no Peter Steele and neither is additional vocalist and guitarist Christian Kolf.
But that’s not why I feel allured by Romantik. I find that the musical atmospheres seem to enrich the record far more than anything done at a vocal level. The harsh efforts are nice, however, and manage to make something that can sound so beautiful at times seem quite sadistic at the same time. It’s a shame I’m not affluent in German, as I’m quite curious as to what the lyrical matter might be. The record comes at a very slow place, is completely drenched and keyboards and ultimately sounds rather forlorn and gothic in a sense.
It’s the kind of thing that you might expect to hear bursting from a set of speakers in the house of an old post-goth couple, who used to dress up in leathers and spikes and now only do it at parties. Maybe it’s also the sort of thing that might fit a Vampire club, if such still exist in a quickly changing world where the word “goth” itself seems a left behind artifact.
Yes, Romantik seems like the funerary dirge to a forgotten age, as it mourns the counterculture movements of old and welcomes in the irregularity of the new. It feels like a last dance with a fanged old count, as even that seems nothing more than a distant memory. If you enjoy reading Poe and sipping a glass of red wine whilst looking down from your shadowy castle, then be sure to give the gloomy elegance of Romantik a try. Also be sure to check out the band’s other releases if you still have yet to do so.
(6 Tracks, 39:00)