Who says one-man black metal projects have to be of the suicidal depressive variety, and be recorded extremely poorly (or super lo-fi “on purpose”)? If that’s the rule, Germany’s Quintessenz didn’t get the memo. Boasting a thrashy, old-school black metal sound, To The Gallows is the second full-length release from Genözider, who has named his project Quintessenz.
With a sound that pays just as much homage to Venom, Celtic Frost, and Bathory as it does to Mayhem or Darkthrone, To The Gallows has a classic 70s or 80s vibe, with lots of melody to spare. “Endless Night” is a great example of how different Quintessenz is from the usual solo black metal release; melodic twin-guitar solos, vocals that are actually sung (gruff, though they are) rather than shrieked, and a melancholy acoustic interlude in the middle. Similarly, “Gloomweaver” has a fast, melancholy black metal riff, but once again, the vocals sound like a mix between Tom Warrior or Celtic Frost/Triptykon and King Diamond’s lower register, with some guttural death growls and shrieks mixed in as well.
Quintessenz takes a little bit of each era of black metal, mixes it in a boiling cauldron, and creates one extremely potent concoction that leaves me wanting more and more. Heavy on melodies, gothic atmospheres, with a touch of heavy thrash metal, To The Gallows manages to take black metal back to the basics, without sounding derivative or too beholden to the obvious influences. If you’re looking for something with an old-school flair, definitely consider picking up a copy of Quintessenz’ latest release.