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On disc: Rawkfist

Chryseus - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars


(Black Bards - 2011)

Rawkfist stepped into the spotlight in 2007 with their self-released debut Stories, in 2009 Danse Macabre released Gardens Of Elysia. Now they are on Black Bards who is releasing their 3rd album, their golden album... Chryseus is Latin for golden. The 12 songs are like a collection of short stories.
They kick off with To Those Who Pretend and after the intro passage they offer symphonic metal and Sabine Hillmer's vocals remind me a bit of Delain's Charlotte Wessels... The riffs have a slightly industrial touch, sound quite modern. The title track Chryseus is almost 9 minutes long and so they take you onto a musical journey where a female ghost remembers her life and death. Revelation is a fast, riff-based tune, but opens up with a choir which later in the songs sets in again. With tempi changes they create different atmospheres, so a slow passage features Sabine's vocals and piano, the choir is back and they pick up speed. Slowly they head into My Heart Untamed, but then add heavy riffs while Felix Bönig's keyboard take care of the symphonic edge. The tune ends like it began. With Silent War they present a powerful ballad full of heartache, in my opinion a version just with guitar / keyboard and vocals would have been stronger... For They Made Me Walk The Plank they speed up again, the vocal line has a catchy edge, but they keyboard soon starts annoying me. so for me this tune is a double-edged sword... But it's a nice story they musically wrapped up.
The opening passage of Deceitful Shadows is bombastic and metallic riffs are combined with string arrangements. The arrangement shows parallels to opera scores. At White Rose, a song inspired by the resistance group Weisse Rose of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans, Sabine Hillmer is joined by her father Uwe for this duet. The closer is called Minstrel, acoustic guitar and vocals is all you get. The song has a slight folk-ish touch and shows a different facet of Rawkfist.
Rawkfist offer a good album with interesting stories, but it lacks some catchy hooks. Especially in the female-fronted symphonic metal genre it's tough to stick out, for me one strong point of Rawkfist is that they don't use operatic vocals.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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