Birkenwald («birch forest» in German) began in Bologna in 2016 and, after the digital release of the single "Shrinking", successfully published the first full-length album a few months ago: "MDD".
Expectedly, the cover artwork features a birch forest, though represented in a comic book style (quite unusual for this genre), where a human figure is haunted by a black ghost (a visible manifestation of the «major depressive disorder» from the title). This is also the story narrated over the five tracks of this album, consisting of a prologue and four chapters.
The atmospheric instrumental intro welcomes us to a musical world to which we have grown rather accustomed to over the past few years: that of post-black metal that flirts with shoegaze, with other examples in Italy such as Seventh Genocide. In the first actual song, solitude starts taking over on the narrator who tries to struggle. "II – Drowned In Soundless Tears" begins with a guitar style quite reminiscent of the debut album by Agalloch "Pale Folklore", proceeding with great skill on similar coordinates.
"MDD" is close to so-called depressive black metal more in terms of content than of sound; the forty minutes constituting the album are certainly a good result for a full-length debut release. Although the final track is about anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure), this whole work is actually quite enjoyable and diverse, a journey through the struggle and reflections taking place within ourselves.
Birkenwald followed on the steps of the many musicians who adopt almost unpronounceable pseudonyms (such as drummer H170207C) and are usually portrayed with their faces in the shadows on official photos. Among other things, the quartet has recently debuted live by sharing the stage with local legends In Tormentata Quiete a few months ago, proving they might also become an interesting live show experience.