01 Falken-Eid I
07 Des Sperbers Geheimnis
09 Schlaf Im Mohn
10 Traum Von Blashyrkh
12 Der Anarchist
13 Gesang An Den Horusfalken
14 Falken-Eid II
As the Griffin, maximum icon represented on this album, above all courageous and strengthful mythological creature, the Germanic duo conformed by Uwe Nolte and Frank Machau returns once again to demonstrate how they are the very vanguard from Neo-folk in the world and a musical syncretism that admits not rivals or counterparts in the genre. “Greifenherz” is a work filled with romantic pathos and portrays the magnificence of a higher spirit, so distant from common territories or absolutes, displaying once more the imperishable determination from the band to attach personality as a union conformed by cultural identity, historic determinism and love for ancient traditions implied in nature and pagan ethos. Orplid continues their experimental journey on German romanticism, this time demarked mainly by the traditions of neo-romantics represented by Rolf Schilling and Frank Wedekind, both authors award-winning by the band with adapted poems that substantially display part of the deep substrate that gives form to the album. It is important to remark the partial anonymity that such authors have (and many other classic German poets such as Joachim Wernerburg), not only in Anglo-Saxon world but on the contemporary German culture, both condemned to a repellent, somehow inquisitorial ostracism by publishing houses, editors and literary circles. Is it that romanticism represents a menace to the statu-quo? Probably so, so it seems. That was no impediment to let them be known and to expose their poetical worlds accompanied by the brilliancy of the musical accompaniment implemented by Orplid, giving context and background to their words and portraying the powerful landscape of brutal beauty disposed by the unfading “Greifenherz”.
It is important to note that Orplid started rather as a conservative and orthodox formula of Neo-folk, perhaps bringing part of the metal stamina and violence that came from their previous metal transition through “Barditus” (A project that continues pretty much alive though). That character definitively marked the original apparition from Orplid in the scene. Martialism and traditional Neo-folk vs aggressive vocalization was an attractive combination at the moment that caused some stirring interest over the scene and certainly benefited Orplid’s reputation as something interesting. Subsequent albums portrayed an ever evolving ensemble that completely shaken off all pre-concepts that the audience may have had originally over their work, ideology or concept. Orplid vitality and shine really reduced all shadowy idealisms put on them by the public and definitively showed them as more than a merely Neo-folk act but a purveyor and new representative of the Germanic pathos; Neo-romantics if you want to call it, rescuers from Germanic myths and imaginary root, a conceptual set that seems to be completely bizarre, “outdated” and too much “imaginative” for the “intellectual” “adult” world. “Greifenherz” is clearly the result from the transition that started back with “Nächtliche Jünger” with the introduction of electronic elements over the traditional Neo-folk arrangements increased radically later on “Sterbender Satyr”. “Greifenherz is then the temporal ellipsis from this evolutionary process. But the implications from this “change” and somehow the proper “modernization” of their aesthetics and subsequent reorganization from the Neo-folk logics is not casual at all. The electronic implementations given to “Sterbender Satyr” more than mere stylistics represents the very syncretism that embraces German classicism (represented in the Folk tradition) Vs the modern and vanguardist appeal coming from Neue Deutsche Welle (and part of the mid 90s Darkwave/Cold wave scene from Germany represented in a previous set of Neo-romantics such as Deine Lakaien, Goethes Erben, Cain Principle or Silence gift) exemplifying that cold logic and bleak machinery rhythm that invariably remits to the contemporary Germany in a most appropriate analogy of its historical lucks and results. Secondary to that aspect appears the instrumental introduction of metal riffing that augments the flames of passion and strength and might on certain songs. “Greifenherz” finally consolidates the effort to condense the most enduring form of classicism and modernism both in form and content, a factor that has given them a defined and absolute character.
If we could define the work in alchemical terms, “Greifenherz” would be composed from all the four of the elements. Fire represented in the form of the occasional vigorous martialism and mettlesome quasi metallic riffs from the guitars. Earth represented in the solidity of the arrangements implemented, the compact quality of the tracks, the concrete form from the narrative and concept. Wind, represented in the dynamics and cold contours of the electronic components and finally Water in the form of the elegant progression from the content, the continual transposition of beauty as an imperishable ingredient, the movement and variability.
Now the work is mysterious and really profound, a travel through a fantastic tale and an analogy from human struggle through barbarisms, decay, death and spirituality and while doing so bringing many painted episodes in their tracks, with times for monumental epiphanies, tranquil reflections, exalted heart combustions, apocalyptic vistas, and promises of resurrection. “Falken-eid I” brings female voices and chorals that comes in a nebulous transparency of quasi ethereal formality, but the gelid contours of the voices and atmosphere announce a frozen landscape that will be a transient element during the whole work. The female vocals would be an ever important part, representing different episodes and spirits.
“Luzifer” comes as another principal conceptual concretion mixing powerful quasi metal rough riffs with grandiloquent and unfading winds and choral hums while an electronic pulse marks the compass and the Martial tone from the snares, setting the mood of conflagration and determination. The guitar comes as an earthquake, low paced but effective in its transmission and reminds similar inductions from other Neo-folk acts such as later “Waldteufel” or certain “Elli Riehl” tracks. This particular track is a fundamental part of the work since it is the lyrical adaptation from Rolf Schilling, so it does represent along with “Der Anarchist” the major columns that support the structural concept from the album. It is necessary to highlight the theatrical dramatism expressed by the tenor voice commanded by Nolte is equidistant between ventral power a dismal aperture, an aggravated influx that stands out the momentum for some tracks and at the same time gives a special expressionism that results iconic. This particular “accent” is probably part of the syncretism that tries to express the Germanic wholeness that the work presupposes (The cadence and tonality of the voice is very similar to Alexander Veljanov) bringing influences that remits to a context that transcends classicism and mix together with recognizable modern characteristics.
“Schwertgesang” comes as a transition that implements the guitar arrangements from Neo-folk contrasted in an illuminated hall constructed by synths, bringing this majestic atmosphere of exponential indifferent beauty akin with gods and their reigns. “Totenesche” abandons all female subtleties and displays a rough, decayed voice performed by Safi, a downtempo rhythm manifested by drums and a simple piano line that invariably remits to the Neue Deutsche welle aesthetics familiar with Nina Hagen (Probably a reference to Nihilism). The plot gets more clear and the analogies slowly reveal.
There are three tracks that remain anonymous: 4,8 & 11. These are seemingly bridges between sections, in a way as an opera will do, mostly instrumentals and intended for atmosphere. Then “Myrmidonenklage” returns with a majestic atmosphere elegantly accompanied by glorious synths and heart beating martial drumming. The dismal voice from Nolte resounds unfading and tremendous giving the track a special vitality. “Des Sperbers Geheimnis”, “Schlaf Im Mohn”, “Traum Von Blashyrkh” perfectly represents the typical Neo-romantic quality, gelid but sentimental, implementing electronic synth melodies and keyboard backgrounds with epic drums and the melodramatic voice. Contrastingly “Der anarchist” is covered by this same quality also, only that the rhythm is more techno influenced, conformed by a mid paced downtempo semi break type beat while the poem slips in, the darkly cadence of the voice transports it and finally finish in an elegant way. This poem is rare and hard to get in any printed edition.