Trautonist – Trautonist
While a lot of the albums on this list have been some form of raw or traditional black metal, I certainly didn’t start my exploration of black metal with raw and hateful black metal. At risk of spoiling any trve kvlt black metal street cred I have (hint: I don’t have any), I started listening to black metal after listening to bands like Alcest and Agalloch. While Agalloch introduced me to the world of nature worshipping atmospheric black metal, bands like Alcest and Lantlôs introduced me to post-black metal and blackgaze. Both bands pioneers of the sound, the albums each band released in 2010, Ecailles de Lune and .neon, set the standard for black metal that as somber as it is elegant, perfectly balancing depression and melancholy with a sense of nostalgia. Years have passed sense I’ve heard blackgaze that really grabbed, with so much of it being lazy dream pop with tremolo strummed guitars and blast beats. When I first heard Trautonist, I was instantly reminded of the sounds I loved so much Alcest and Lantlôs, and knew something special was to come.
Trautonist are a blackgaze duo from Koblenz, Germany. All the songs are written on performed by Dennis Blomberg with female vocals provided by Katharina. The band perfectly mixes the fury and pensiveness of post-black metal with the beauty and bliss of shoegaze. The album starts with thick, fuzzy chords and a delicately plucked arpeggios, before sweeping directly into blast beats and riffs that have a sense of urgency. They seamlessly flow from harsh sounds to sweeter and prettier sounds, with lush chords and crooning melodies. It is over these lighter parts of the songs that Katharina provides her soft and airy singing. Another thing that Trautonist incorporates into a lot of their songs is false endings. The the first track “Stay” has two. They never feel gimmicky, and every time I hear a false ending, the next “start” has me excited to hear more wonderful music. From the more energetic songs like “Downgaze” and “Escapist”, and to the warm and inviting sway of “Deep”, Trautonist crafted the perfect marriage of black metal and shoegaze.