Eremit – Bearer of Many Names Review

Two years ago, German then-duo Eremit trudged onto the scene with a 68-minute, three-song mammoth, Carrier of Weight, an album that contained a foreboding atmosphere, a production that could crush an elephant like it was an empty aluminum can, and about six or seven total riffs between all three gargantuan-length songs. It was a bit much for me, but even then, I could sense the potential for these sludge-bearers to smother the masses and climb to the top of the heap where witches with bells sit upon oaken (Lewandowski-painted) thrones, surveying the wastelands forevermore. If there was something that the shitstorm that was 2020 and parts of 2021 taught me, it’s that patience is most certainly a welcome virtue, and time can soften an old fuddy-duddy like yours truly. As such, the now-trio-again have seen fit to unleash their newest beast, Bearer of Many Names, with a sleeker,1 heavier disposition.

And after listening to this for about two weeks, I still don’t know how to convey what I feel besides to tell you, dear reader, to re-read my review of their debut. All the positives and negatives I levied for and against their last album hold just as true, and as stark, here. There are some improvements, namely in drummer Marco Baecker’s performances throughout. His flourishes and ability to mix things up during album closer and highlight “Unmapped Territories of Clans Without Names” helps keep (albeit barely) things interesting. Given that at over 18-and-a-half minutes this is still the album’s shortest song should begin to outline the problems I have with Bearer of Many Names. His performances are among the scant few highlights.

About those riffs, though… just like on Carrier, Moritz Fabian and Pascal Sommer really, really like the riffs they constructed. To be fair, they are damn good riffs when used sparingly and with variation. These are not used sparingly, as the same riffs are played well past their expiration dates. There’s also very little to no variation, save for some of the melodies in “Unmapped Territories…” and them moving up what sounds like an entire fret on the almost-thirty-minute opener “Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness” for minutes at a time before finally switching off much, much later to a different riff to milk drier than an exhumed camel. Every song has just two or maybe three riffs, and usually it’s slowed down more and more on each pass through, like the last seven or so minutes on “Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact,” and each time I’m mercifully begging for it to end. If the songs were anywhere in the ballpark of four or five minutes each, that would be fine. The shortest song on here is well past eighteen minutes in length, and while I don’t mind a long journey, this is absolutely patience-testing, especially when so little is given to you in terms of melody or variance.

It doesn’t help that the production is a bit worse here. When “Enshrined…” opens up in a similar fashion that “Dry Land” did on the first album, I (wrongly) believed that a wider dynamic palette was utilized, allowing for the drums to breathe a bit more, and the guitars to open up some space a bit. However, “Enshrined…”‘s tranquil veneer dropped into a blast-beat-peppered section that would best be described as unflinchingly painful and detrimental to everyone’s instruments, especially Baecker’s drumkit. There’s heft, and then there’s suffocating the life out of every instrument recorded. In fact, Moritz Fabian’s voice, which reminds me of a younger Rainer Landfermann (ex-Bethlehem) at times, was the only thing left unscathed by this production. But between that and the sheer amount of fat found here, it makes Bearer a hard sell.

Which is a shame, as “Unmapped Territories…,” with a few minutes shaved off,2 could have been a monster in terms of songwriting heft that properly showcases what Eremit is striving for, and is the only thing keeping this from scoring lower. Otherwise, it’s repeating the same flaws and lack of editing that drove me batty on Carrier of Weight, only this time with a worse mix. That said, there are people who just want to be beaten senseless by the same two riffs over and over, and they will definitely get that here. Everyone else should look elsewhere.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 2021.06.11 | NA: 06.25.2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. It’s a whole two minutes shorter.
  2. Like, five or six.
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