Ersolung is a black metal Catholic band that is from Statesboro, Georgia. I first was aware of this awesome band about 3 years ago on Myspace. The sound of this band is unlike any other that you will hear in the Catholic music spectrum. Their single, “Wall of Glass” and their first album, “Christmas Ist Krieg” are a testament to their passion and craftsmanship and in my humble opinion, it will prove to be an important release for Catholic music in the future. There are not too many Catholic artists that are able to swim in these musical waters and I respect this band for having the courage, faith and vision for doing what they do.
Before this review continues, I have to address a specific characteristic of this genre. In the late 1980s/early 1990s a style of metal came out of Northern Europe that was to be of great importance to the development of the modern metal that we have now. Labelled as “black metal,” these Norwegian/Finnish bands created an extreme reaction to the over-produced, slick “hair metal” and “death metal”of the mid-to late 1980s North American bands. The “balck metal” recordings were brutal in terms of their subject matter and in terms of their melodic/harmonic content. They were also recorded differently; they were recorded in a “low-fi” manner. One of the best examples of this genre was a band called Burzum and it’s leader Varg Virkenes. In the April, 2010 issue of GuitarWorld magazine, the genre’s sound and production characteristics were addressed several times,
“Between 1992 and 1993, Virkernes recorded four full-length Burzum albums – …the truest examples of the Norwegian Black Metal sound. Burzum’s cold guitar tones and tremolo picking, bleak synth landscapes, lo-fi production … helped lay the foundation for … current U.S. Black Metal artists.”.GuitarWorld April, 2010 issue
Erlosung continues this recording tradition, but the subject of his songs reflect his dedication to Christ and His Church. The photos of this band has them displaying the cross of St. Michael the Archangel; it seems to be a prominent symbol for this band.
Due to the limitations of our review length, I’ll focus on “Wall of Glass” in a very close manner. I will review “Kristmas ist Kreig” closer to Advent as part of our Christmas Metal reviews.
“Wall of Glass” is an amazing emotional journey of faith. Sebastian Wolf (the main source of faith propelled energy in this band) starts this song off with a beautiful piano structure which is complemented with a strong reverb in the mix. The effects that the piano is run through are well placed to get across the impassioned mood of the song. If you can listen to the piano and imagine it not having the reverb – you would have to agree that the dry piano signal would be beautiful and alluring –but the reverb is a stunning feature in this mix.
The entrance of the drums, keys and guitar come in like a hammer blow. Right away the moodiness of the piano is catapulted into a metallic cacophony that has you wanting to rock it out! The vocals continue the piano’s melancholy mood and display the longing that we all have of “the one who has spared me, From the eyes of death!” The different musical textures in this song all culminate in the frustration that we all feel from the “wall of glass” that everyone experiences in life. For example, after the first verse, the musical arrangement changes to a keyboard driven part that is not as busy but builds in intensity as the chorus develops. Despite this change the melancholy feeling is still there. The release and build up after the chorus changes again using less drums and layered keyboards but drops back into the main theme in a way that’s not predictable but sounds so natural in this song.
The lyrics and music are so well matched in this song. The lyrics have a very strong message; despite the frustration we have in our physical, materialistic world – our love of Christ (and of course, His love for us) can never be restrained. This song’s lyrics are a testament to hope and the love of Christ.
Despite many attempts to form a band (this is well documented on Erlosung’s myspace and facebook sites), Erlosung is back to a one-man operation. According to Erlosung’s facebook page,
During the summer of 2010 Erlosung broke up, and Sebastian has now taken on the band as a solo project and is now working on the next Erlsoung full length album.
If you read Erlosung’s facebook page and see some of the videos on myspace and youtube; you can see that Sebastian has the staying power to keep his music alive and kicking. I’m looking forward to a full album of this band’s music. If you want to hear Erlosung’s songs, the links can be found below: