A critic ( I think it may have been Bonnie Greer) reviewing Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish Civil War ghost story “The Devil’s Backbone.” questioned whether it was in fact it a horror film at all, according to the normal directives of the genre- that one will be shocked, horrified and then released with no vestigal dread into the open air outside the cinema afterwards. This contract, she felt, had been breached by the sadness contained within the film- and the effect on the viewer was so much different simply because “Sadness takes so much longer to metabolize than fear.”
And this is what I think distinguishes Geisterfaust (meaning “Ghostfist”) from Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s previous output, which dates back to 94’s “Gore Motel”. Bohren’s application of the crawling, portentous dynamics of doom metal to the instrumentation of light jazz, has previously yielded music that is so doomy, so funereal in pace and application, that it borders on gothic, nightcrawler camp. It could happily replace Angelo Badalamenti, or This Mortal Coil in some of the pivotal scenes of David Lynch’s canon.
Little has changed in the instrumentation here- the dark chorals; The brushed cymbals, the Fender Rhodes, all still here. and yet something winsome pervades throughout the five tracks. It seems the innate pomposity of “Horror Jazz” has finally been exorcised, resulting for the first time, in a Bohren album which is more elegy than dirge.