Nebelung's gorgeous Palingenesis is born of melancholy and sadness and the themes of an approaching finality coupled with the knowledge of rebirth echoes throughout a work that is layered and coloured with shades of autumn and the coming winter. Palingenesis is a moody work and its textures flow through beautiful acoustic guitars and Stefan Otto’s emotion-laden voice. He moves from a more spoken word vocal approach in opener “Mittwinter” to breathy whispers in “Polaris” and beyond, using his voice only where completely necessary which adds to the gloomy nature of the album and creates a enveloping, ethereal wonder.
Palingenesis is a gentle and affecting work and its beauty lies in the heart which Nebelung allows to breathe into their music and with the German group taking their name from the ancient German word for November, it’s obvious that this trio are indebted to the cycles of life. Simple cello lines (Katharina Hoffmann) walk across the minimal guitar passages and evoke landscapes of death and the ravaging effects of winter on an already grey morning. “Nachtgewalt” passes by on sorrowful strings and intertwining guitar lines (Thomas List) which pull at the memory and induce a longing for days long since passed, for cold winter mornings and fog heavy walks. Neo-folk as a genre is adept at calling to mind deeply felt emotion and Nebelung’s weight is felt in their heartbreaking sound and ability to dredge the depths of the soul with naught but a well-placed sigh or pluck of a string. It’s magical and eerie all at once and the slow movements of “Aufgang” are decidedly mournful in their execution, the band once again using basic progressions to render their lament and build a mystical aura around their sound.
Nebelung aren’t a band to resort to overtly fancy tricks to sustain attention, instead they allow the rhythms and soul of their music to wander freely and tread the paths of renewal without becoming forceful in their motivations. Palingenesis is a natural work that shimmers with a sadness that is felt in the slight instrumentation and the sentiments that are relayed through those sounds. “Wandlung” glistens with the sight of rebirth and its steady and climbing beat takes in hammered dulcimer and soft guitar which work for each other in creating a sense of pace that seems to signal an eventual end and new beginnings before “Innerlichkeit” passes into the frame and completely breaks you down. This final track is led by interweaving cello and guitar and the deep yet soft strings work to enhance the feelings of forlornness in ever increasing circles, cloaking the sounds with a current of tender, bittersweet knowledge that all things must come to an end and all things must be reborn into the cosmos. It’s a powerful closing piece which serves to encapsulate all that has come before with its passionate tone and bereft core and it gives Palingenesis a painful yet beautiful finality. Not all death has to be ugly or monstrous and not all death is forever. It’s this notion that carries Nebelug into the realms of magical thought and Palingenesis into a tender and delicate conclusion.
8.5 / 10
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