Heidenvolk Darkwood : Notwendfeuer (D,2006)***'
General introduction to misinterpretations by the public of images in German neofolk traditions :
To understand fully German neofolk it’s good to understand the German soul and what has built up over the years, of which in its seriousness has two important sources in its origins and evolutions, of which dark German Romantism is a part, but also a lighter and happy “Heimat” association, which is a connection with a comfortable home in a family and with community unity. Historically and especially related with neighbouring countries, the more protective fundaments of homes were often vulnerable to change by people who did not build further on this beautiful fundament, resulting in wars and strife that found much cause in the deeper wish for a bigger bond with regulations founded on the values of that German unity. However, the way in which especially the second world war evolved, resulted in the end in the breaking of that unity, because it took too huge sacrifices by themselves and by others, that in Germany it still pretty much continues further as a trauma, not only because of the bad things that happened and the whole evaluation of its results, and of themselves (the Germans) in the memory of various people, but also in that way that nowadays it became difficult to describe the same beauties in these Romantic and communal foundations without being misunderstood and misinterpreted for being extreme nationalists. For those older German people who built the country anew, and who learned from the mistakes, and established some changes in society as a benefit, they were busy enough building up change, a mixture of German sterling qualities to local ideas with an American way of reaching hands to a global economy, but it’s the generation that came after them especially who feels lost when searching for their German historical, communal and spiritual roots, because their experiences all comes back to the second world war’s breaking point with this German unity. That is the main reason why many neofolk roots take elements of this reality. For outsiders I can confirm that this is not because they support or make publicity for war, but it is so that in their historical folk roots it is hardly impossible to look beyond this turning point. Only beyond this reality you can look to this point towards two directions : to the making of a new future and to go back to all the roots of much older communal traditions.
The CD :
Some German Romantic literature has been used to inspire. The title (referring to “inner need fire of change”) is based upon Karl Bröger (1886-1944), “Wintermärchen”/”winter fairytale” is based upon Otto Ernst (1862-1926), “Niblungenland” is based upon Adolf Bartels (1862-1945), “Feuerkreis”/“circle of fire” is based upon “Trumpeten”/”Trumpets” by George Trakl (1878-1914).
All songs are related with the period of winter, and the fires that should warm the hearts and give a renewed courage, because also you cannot predict what kind of change will come. Consciously and simultaneously also related is the story which is experienced in Eastern Germany, a period where people must have lost a grip on their place to fall back upon. As a cruel and dirty deal (between the alies), that never has been much discussed as such yet (as far as I know), during the fall of Germany in 1945, Stalin’s Russia had already decided to confiscate Eastern Germany as if it was a sort of deal, while in reality it was conquered taking advantage of the circumstances, where no one dared to discus the righteousness of it. For the citizens it became like a long “Russian” winter. Also Berlin was split into two parts, and was completely imprisoned within walls for years.
The title of the album means something like "the inevitable changing fire". In Winter Times the fire of change always brings changes to struggles, and no one knows beforehand if it will bring a better world, only that change could come and that with this conscious idea and process with fire people are spiritually prepared for it. It is such ideas which take different forms in different songs, giving hope, where Dark Romantism is a form of describing also darker realties with referring to the hidden strength and beauty, because that is near to your heart, in true nature still is around.
The album is a solo release led by Henryck Vogel with the help of some musicians. The style is, often fastly strummed acoustic guitar, some cello arrangements and sung by soft male vocals, sometimes slightly reciting, poetry, with sparse arrangements by accordion (Manuela), and sparse percussion which sounds once slightly like martial drumming, confirming a feeling of loss, is hand percussion elsewhere, sounds like Bodhran drumming on another track. Other sparse arrangements are a trumpet once playing like a lonely soldier on a battlefield (by Chihiro), elsewhere romantic-melodic, sparse texturing keyboards, violin (by Valentin). “Roggenfelder” is with an additional sweet female vocalist (Manuela). It’s a slightly sad but hope-giving, very nice album. I’m glad each track was sung in German. (I must admit that I understand also German well, but I also think it sounds best here to hear the singer’s sing in his own language, which sounds also poetic, my friends.
I like the strong cover photo of a young person with eyes full of responsibility and discipline which must have been hard to bear, a person who surely must have felt at young age feelings of loss, loss of innocence perhaps. Such complicate difficult sum of experiences stand well for this inspiration.