Minenwerfer (United States) is back with its 4th full album titled Feuerwalze. The album was supposed to be released on the 10th of March (on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms) but due to a leak, the band decided to release the album prematurely. The album is available in digital format (FLAC, WAV, MP3 etc.) on Bandcamp, for other formats you can check the band’s label. You will find the links at the end of this review.
In this review, I will provide my opinion of the new album and offer a brief historical background on the significance of the battle.
The Battle of the Somme
The album contains 7 tracks with a runtime of 48 minutes (and a few seconds).
- Cemetery Fields
- Eternal Attrition
- Sturmtruppen III (Sommekämpfer)
- Shrapnel Exsanguination
- Labyrinthine Trench Sectors
Minenwerfer’s previous albums have all centered around the theme of World War 1, and Feuerwalze is no exception. The lyrics on this album focus on the infamous Battle of the Somme. For those who may not be familiar with this significant historical event, allow me to provide a brief history lesson.
The band gives the following description on their Bandcamp page;
A campaign started on 1 July 1916. A campaign of muddy, rat infested trenches, endless artillery barrages, and cracks of rifles in the distance. A campaign of unsettling night raids, close quarters combat, and suffocating fumes of chlorine gas.
The sound of the treads of the first tanks grinding the bones of those long dead on the battlefield to dust, and of the screams from no man’s land of men bleeding out in the night from the previous day’s failed offensive.
This is the soundtrack for that campaign. Welcome to the Somme.
The imagery depicted in the lyrics of Feuerwalze was a common occurrence for soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The Battle of the Somme is considered one of the bloodiest battles in human history, resulting in an estimated 1.2 million casualties. On the first day of the battle, the British suffered over 57,000 casualties, making it the deadliest day in the history of the British Army.
The battle was characterized by its brutality and trench warfare, with both sides experiencing heavy losses from artillery, machine guns, and poison gas attacks. Soldiers lived in appalling conditions in the trenches, often contracting diseases such as trench foot and trench fever.
With that in mind, the album starts off with a barrage of sound and for me, it gives a good representation of what it would have been like in the Trenches during that time. It would have been Hell on earth for the people in there and as you can see from the photograph on the right, the landscape was devastated by the barrage of shells or the Feuerwalze which is a military tactic of starting off with a heavy artillery barrage quickly followed by infantry.
That destruction is very well mimicked by the drums on this album because they sound relentless, like machine guns and mortars going off at a terrifying pace. The drums are one of the highlights for me on this album. That also goes for the vocals, those fit perfectly with the setting of the trenches, gnarly, icy and full of despair.
Some track highlights
“Feuerwalze” is the second track of the album and starts off with a relentless sound of drums and guitars, and this keeps going for a while, and to me, it really sounds like a military tactic of shock and awe. We just can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been down there in the trenches. Also, worth mention are the vocals on this track, they have a certain anger/anguish to them, the singer is doing an outstanding job.
The 4th track is “Nachtschreck” and translates to Night Terrors in English. The track starts off with a sound clip of German soldiers and screams of pain. That pain is also felt by the vocals once again.
The final track of the album, “Labyrinthine Trench Sectors,” begins with a powerful salvo of drums that sets the tone for the rest of the song. The relentless drumming continues throughout the track, adding to the sense of chaos and despair. The latter half of the song features a sound clip of the trenches, with the constant sound of mortar impacts creating a haunting and unsettling atmosphere.
Listening to this sound clip, it is difficult to imagine the reality of what it must have been like to be a young soldier in those trenches, surrounded by the constant noise of war and the sight of fallen comrades. It serves as a stark reminder of the harsh reality of war and the sacrifices made by those who fought in it.
It’s a very fitting end for the album. The rest of the tracks are good as well, but these 3 are the highlights for me.
For fans of black metal albums with a historical theme, Feuerwalze by Minenwerfer is an absolute must-listen. Fans of Kanonenfieber and 1914 will especially appreciate this album’s focus on the Battle of the Somme and the trench warfare of World War I.
While Feuerwalze may not surpass the previous album, Alpenpässe, in terms of sound, it is still an excellent addition to Minenwerfer’s discography. The relentless drumming, gnarly vocals, and haunting soundscapes all come together to create a powerful and immersive listening experience. Overall, Feuerwalze is a worthy addition to any black metal fan’s collection.
You can give the album a try below, and as always, if you like it, don’t forget to buy the album in your preferred format and support the artists!
Bandcamp: Feuerwalze | MINENWERFER | Osmose Productions (bandcamp.com)
Facebook: Minenwerfer | Facebook
Website: minenwerfer (minenwerfer1914.com)