I'm often impressed by the lengths to which a single man can compose a devastating black metal release, and Abkehr is one such case. German Werner Mortensen performs all the instruments across three lengthy tracks, clocking just over a half hour of music.
The style is turbulent, violent yet very well balanced. When composing longer songs of this genre, one has to make sure to avoid endless repetitious that would bore the listener, by crafting a wealth of riffs that can combine seamlessly. Mortensen does this well. "Das Lied der Freien Menschen" opens the album with its 11+ minutes of bleak blasting menace, weaving patterns of grinding black metal below the snarling and vile-tastic vocals. The song interrupts the blasting bits with some doomier, slower black metal. "Herdentier" once again emerges from the starting gates with a lengthy exposition of slaughterhouse, grinding chords, truly holocaustic. But the track creates some vivid and harmonic moments with its slower sequences and hypnotic chord progressions (I was reminded of Endstille's style during a part of this song). "In Ketten" is the shortest of the three tracks and begins the slowest, with a pattern of glorious chords under a swelling beat. This may be the crowning moment of the album, for the textures in this track are truly rich and thought-evoking, far less brutal than the others.
I was quite pleased with this EP, the quality is consistent and it sounds fantastic for a low budget recording. The bass and drums thunder below the chords, but the guitars and vocals are the real scene stealers with their endless barrage of vitriol. Much talent and promise has gone into this recording and I do hope to hear some more!
Verdict: Win [8/10]