This compilation-EP bundles together the two short demos the German duo Höllenpoetik has released this far. Both the demos were previously released as limited tape-pressings of 100 copies each, which makes this CD-re-release a warmly welcomed one. In case you're into namedropping, the person responsible for the vocals, guitar and bass is known as a live member of Winterblut, and the drummer has played in bands such as Krieg and Nargaroth.
The band's music relies on thin and somewhat clean sounds, especially regarding the guitar, but these sounds are still organic and cellar-like enough to create an atmosphere. The riffs are really simple and primitive, but their variation from VON-like bareness to slightly more melodic but still bleak approach keeps the songs interesting. The thin sound brings every single guitar- and bass-note to the listener's attention, which helps the songs in creating a mysteriously hypnotic feel - especially so due to the bass guitar's simplistic but fleshy pulse providing a nice contrast to the guitar sound. The drums are really skillful, as are the guitars. Their simplistic sound and primitive but effective beats give the songs a big chunk of their atmosphere as well due to them being so well thought-out, almost mathematical.
There is something very elegant in the duo's crude pounding. Each note seems to have been carefully put in its place, but somehow the songs still breathe freely; they're vivid, even if they are controlled. The songs sound rather monotonal at times, a fact which is amplified by the thin soundscape, but an individual beat or a suddenly starting melody might deepen the hypnosis or give the song a whole new twist. The vocal work is well presented in the mix and serves as a notable factor in the record's atmosphere - and, naturally, is the key reason why the label describes the band as "poetic satanic black metal." The vocals range from clean spoken parts to really dry croaks that give the songs a twisted and dramatic touch, and even if they don't sound like much when viewed as an individual element, their dry sound does fit the soundscape.
The CD-case is enveloped by a rather pointless cardboard slip, but otherwise the packaging looks pleasing. The design's minimalistic approach is balanced by a strong and colourful medieval painting in the booklet's inlay, and it gives the otherwise text-based design some actual content. The lyrics seem to be a big part of the band's expression and luckily they are there to be read, but sadly I can't comment them due to me not understanding German. Do note that although the first two songs were recorded in 2010 and the remaining two in 2011, they share such similarities that placing them together like this doesn't make the EP sound disjointed.
This untitled EP is a good opener for the duo's future works. They have still work to do in creating a more intriquing and unified balance of hypnotic monotony and more diverse and detailed approach, as well as in finding the right kind of soundscape that would bring the best out of the compositions. The EP rose my interest towards the band, but it's not a record suitable for continuous listening sessions due to its short lenght, the still somewhat unrefined approach, as well as the barren soundscape being a tad too thin and flat to bring out the best of the songs. I hope we'll be hearing more from Höllenpoetik in the future.