Review by Alex on December 19, 2020.
Meister Leonhardt is 'too old, too cold'. Embracing the creaking remnants of the elder ways of 80s-90s black metal, the project with this self-titled debut racks-up around 27 minutes of sonic antiquity, drags you back through the chilling snow and winds to an honestly bleak and hateful period in black metal. Sounds as though it's meant to be experienced in a cave in the forest 100 miles away from civilization amongst the howling wolves and only the caress of blistering cold winds of the season.
These tracks are handled with infant-like or ancient architecture-esque care as though uncovered by an archeologist under 200 feet of rubble. 'The Coldest Fire' would apply it's opening ambience as a tool to glaze the atmosphere a bit for 'The Crown of Consenescence' to begin its embark with the listener to a grim place. Meister Leonhardt is 1st wave rocking style black metal merged with some sprinkles of the early second wave and black/doom metal that brings to mind Darkthrone ("Panzerfaust" era) among numerous others. Songs here are very guitar driven but leave enough space for the drumming and vocals to go about their tasks. Plenty of great hooks and leading riffs featured on the album with 'Of Things Never Finished' and 'Thirst and Spiritual Infirmity' providing mesmerizing rhythms and auras.
These 27 minutes go by fast and is perhaps the only drawback of Meister Leonhdt. One more song would have been a good addition but even without such, the album possesses enough meat to keep the hungry fed. Can't help but re-emphasize how delicate Meister Leonhardt sounds and feels, most of which could be attributed to the pacing and melodies used that are so delightful to the ear. 'The Greatest of Circles' is one of the best songs on the album that merges all its rocking roughness with crescendoing rhythms, hooks and ambience in the back. And in ending so suddenly, you'd want to instantly commit to another round. Look out for Meister Leonhardt that comes out on Purity Through Fire January 31st, 2021 on vinyl and cd.
Rating: 8 out of 10174