In June we published the first teaser from an upcoming DBATICOTLH album entitled What Makes You Pray, and but a few days ago the actual promo dropped into my mailbox. We had several reasons to feel excited about this one – foremost among which was the fact that the teaser track was great. In commenting on “El Ocaso”, we noted traces of what might be called the old Der Blutharsch. If that is truly the case as far as the music goes is open to debate, but I will say that What Makes You Pray is infused with something I for want of a better word would like to call an “Austrian 90’s vibe”.
Not that there’s anything retro or regressive here. There are still bucketfuls of that strange progressive playfulness which has been a hallmark of the new Der Blutharsch for quite some time. The music is very much played and performed, and in no way seems loop-based. The sound, the atmosphere and the suggestive repetitiveness of the tracks, however, ooze of old school industrial/neofolk sentiments – even while the prog-rock elements and pining guitar melodies create something all together different also. Often I think of relatively recent Allerseelen material upon hearing a particularly murky-yet-beautiful section being repeated time and again, and there is probably something to that “old Blutharsch” theory after all – even if only in a very subtle way.
Leaving aside the historical comparisons, this album is full to the brim with a sincere, somewhat melancholic, heavily experimental type of monotonous psychedelic prog. There are also super cool, dirty rock parts, rumbling synthesizers, suggestive vocals and just the right amount of WTF to keep things more than interesting. In comparison to some other DBATICOTLH recordings, What Makes You Pray gives a very consistent and solid impression. Craziness and diversity abound, but there is an overarching or underlying tone that keeps the whole shebang together. Perhaps it’s that 90’s Austrian vibe I made up, perhaps it’s something else entirely, but this is an album in the true sense of the word. And a pretty damn good one at that.