Home > Music > Anorexia Nervosa – Drudenhaus (2000)

Anorexia Nervosa – Drudenhaus (2000)

This album is loud. It’s extremely loud. It’s written loud, it’s arranged loud, it’s mastered loud(ness war), and so forth. Loudness, in short, is Drudenhaus‘s greatest strength and greatest weakness simultaneously. On one hand, it’s an extremely aggressive example of symphonic black metal that’s reminiscent of the best moments of latter day Emperor, amongst others. However, the lack of dynamics and occasionally awkward songwriting (especially in terms of modulation) prevent the entirety of the album from reaching lofty heights.

Drudenhaus is an edge-loaded album, which is somewhat rare in my experience. Most of the albums I listen to have their best material at the beginning or in the middle. Here, it starts strong and ends strong, but there’s some filler in the middle. Since the entire album is with very few exceptions playing at full blast, it generally boils down to a question of what riffs and keyboard patterns are playing. Said things are generally melodic and somewhat polyphonic – sometimes complementing each other and sometimes playing off each other. In that respect, Anorexia Nervosa does not disappoint, as the album remains compositionally varied in spite of its aesthetic.

Merely saying things are loud is more descriptive than one would expect, but understanding what exactly is going on with the aesthetics is particularly important to understanding Drudenhaus. The sound, firstly, is very dense – most instruments are playing at most times, and the rhythms of the vocals even cover the songs in a fairly uniform matter. Said lyrics are recited in fairly simple rhythms at moderate speeds and exist in meaningful amounts. Since the vocalist relies primarily on shrieks (and cleans to a lesser extent), this means that the sonic profile of this album is very trebley, although there’s a lot of bass as well. The keyboards are a bit cheap sounding, but to a much lesser extent than a lot of other symphonic metal albums – the main problem is that things like the violin patches have this artificial high pitched sheen to them. It’s possible that there were some errors made during the album’s mixing. In short, while the loudness does make a good counterpoint to some of the more aggressively lo-fi works in the genre, it does make this album fatiguing to listen to.

Arguably, an album being too loud or too soft isn’t that much of a problem considering that volume can be adjusted by the listener. On the other hand, since the album is written loud, there are some limits to what it can do with the symphonic black metal format. Of note in this case is that this is the second out of four albums by the band – the first was in a significantly different style that was apparently based in industrial metal, while the next two remain symphonic and blackened. The potential for refinement, then, was there, but as usual, I can only review albums I’ve actually listened to. It’s to the band’s credit that Drudenhaus has enough good ideas to justify potential acquirement and review of their later albums, but my backlog has been out of control since at least 2009…

Highlights: “A Doleful Night in Thelema”, “The Drudenhaus Anthem”, “The Red Archromance”

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