114: FOLTERKAMMER

The term symphonic black metal is nothing new. Enhancing extreme genres with orchestral/symphonic/operatic elements has made for some exciting output in metal. But Folterkammer is some sort of new species.

With Folterkammer, the operatic element is far more than added flavour. This is chaotic and confronting black metal, but it is also structured and written in such a way that emulates a classical opera just as much.

The cornerstone of this curious mix is vocalist, Andromeda Anarchia. Andromeda’s vocal abilities betray belief. You need to hear it for yourself, and then you need to be shown irrefutable evidence this is all one woman – and even then you’d likely refuse to accept it.

Passages are sung in beautiful, high flying operatic style – so much so you’d think they were sampled from an actual opera performance – before switching effortlessly to snarled and screeched vocals, the type you’d find coming from some Northern European black metal band. The added element of the songs being in German only adds to the air of exotic and artistic boundary pushing.

Andromeda’s vocals really do have to be heard to be believed. This inconceivable clash of operatic and black vocals is more pure and perfect than the human mind could imagine.

Zachary Ezrin of Imperial Triumphant is also heavily responsible for this bizarre yet enthralling odyssey. This certainly can be felt in the more frenzied musical moments, which further serve to highlight the jaw-dropping contrasts as the composition shifts between different showcases for Andromeda’s vocal ability.

With a sole album released so far, Folterkammer effortlessly establish themselves as a truly unique presence in extreme metal. An unreplicatable perfect fusion of disparate styles of music, no other band will ever achieve this true black metal opera.