‘KVIITIIVZ – Beschwörung des Unaussprechlichen’ is the debut full-length from Essenz, a truly obscure German Black Metal triumvirate who peddle a unique concoction of blackened doom / death that lingers somewhere between The Ruins of Beverast and Black Sabbath. The Black Sabbath influence is particularly evident. But there’s enough experimentation and general all-round weirdness in the mix to ensure that this should appeal to most BM fans.
The first thing I’m going to mention is the packaging and artwork: atypical and beautiful. Secondly, I note that two members of Essenz are in an old school DM band called Drowned alongside two Necros Christos members; I find this reference interesting as Essenz certainly shares Necros Christos’ penchant for the weird and esoteric, even if the two bands sound altogether different. It’s worth commenting on the value for money on offer, also, with nine tracks (including the (silent) bonus John Cage tribute and Mayhem cover (‘Moon’)) generating an overall playing time of 69 odd minutes. Literally, odd minutes…
There are three stunning instrumentals on this album, including bass-heavy third track ‘Sophía’, one of those rumbling efforts that makes the cones vibrate and the pictures on the wall rattle. For a few minutes, we could be listening to Khanate. But then ‘Weyzzez Ravshen: Beschwörung’ begins its laborious crawl through the speakers, coming across like Cathedral with Attila Csihar on vocal duties. Proceedings become more chaotic as the song unravels and the overall effect is quite strange, I have to say. Unlike anything I’ve heard before. As interludes go, the epic nine-minute ‘Quae Trans’ – replete with samples and outtakes – is a veritable close encounter of the third kind.
Essentially, Essenz is a very hard band to rate. Because they refuse to play it safe, taking real risks by combining styles and parts that theoretically shouldn’t go together, not everything works. At times, the music seems confused and disjointed … but I’m confident this is the result they are going for. If they set out to create an album that fucks with your head, an album that is neither one thing nor another, an album that cannot be pigeonholed or categorised easily – then they have achieved precisely that. ‘KVIITIIVZ – Beschwörung des Unaussprechlichen’ is what it is: an unusual, unorthodox and intriguing puzzle. I enjoyed it immensely. And there’s a 2LP version on the way.