REVIEW: Ära Krâ – Ferne Tage
Band: Ära Krâ
Album: Ferne Tage
Genre: Blackened post-metalcore
Keeping up a hidden musical identity in this era of technology is an incredibly delicate balance, which can either work incredibly well or result in utter obscurity. It’s worked out extremely well for Ghost and Portal, and less well for certain (now obscure) black metal acts; for newcomers Ära Krâ it seems to have gone well thus far, allowing people to focus entirely on their bizarre brand of music. A trio hailing from Germany, they’ve released their début album Ferne Tage (Distant Days) as Pay-What-You-Want on Bandcamp, promising a blend of black metal, metalcore and post-rock. Yes, you read that correctly.
“September” gets off on more than the right footing, with a storm of drumming and blackened death metal riffs that morph in a tremolo worthy of most black metallers’ attention, at least until the hoarse German-language scream kicks in. Picture in your brain a blend of melodic black metal and Darkest Hour, fortunately skipping out on the breakdowns. “Odem” continues much in this vein, feeling as if Heaven Shall Burn donned corpsepaint and occasionally pause for some Explosions In The Sky-style post-rock interludes.
Amidst all of this, the vocal approach seems quite mundane in its unflinching hoarse mid-range screams. A part of me was hoping for some variety, perhaps some whispers or distant cleans, but in general the style doesn’t seem out of place, even in the quieter sections. Lyrically the album deals with emotions and nature vs. urban environments, most of it in the 2nd person: “One with with the clouds, one with the emptiness/You just stand here above the city/A sea of concrete and stone/Arms opened, eyes closed”. The atmosphere is very enveloping, regardless of whether the words are understandable or not. Even the titles convey their emotions: “Sleepy Days”, “New Snow”, “Lilac”**
Sections of Ferne Tage are tantalizingly familiar; “Verschlafene Tage” has echoes of Viatrophy’s “The Final Light”, and “Eos & Eis” sounds akin to new Agalloch reinterpreted via metalcore. Not that these are negative points, they all contribute to the band’s overall sound. There are also many a flash of originality, such as in “Neuschnee”, where a tinkling piano joins the post-metal morass. Nothing really feels out of place within these 7 tracks, despite the swings between post-rock and blackened metalcore, only an occasional disjointed feeling in the guitars.
The resulting mixture makes for a more-than-satisfied listener, also evoking many emotions along the 35-minute journey. Anybody who enjoyed the work of Viatrophy, Darkest Hour or older Alcest and maintain an open metal mindset would do well to pick up a copy of this. In the end, Ferne Tage is not an album to be dragged into subgenre wars, as best summarized by one YouTube commenter, who stated Ära Krâ are “blackened post-deathcore with a lemon twist”. I’d only like to add ‘and a whole lot of emotion’.
* Translation done by myself, original: “Eins mit den Wolken, eins mit der Leere/Stehst nun hier oben, weit über der Stadt/Ein Meer aus Beton und Stein/Arme geöffnet, Augen geschlossen”
**Translation done by myself, originals: “Verschlafene Tage”, “Neuschnee”, “Flieder”