Album Review: Wandar – Zyklus 9 (Black Metal)

  • Wandar
  • Zyklus
  • Melodic Black Metal
  • Germany
  • Jul 12. 2019
  • 9/10

Zyklus is an outstanding black metal record that not a lot of people have heard over here and I’m honestly surprised. The quality and creative direction are both high end and it’s presented eloquently. Wandar are a German band who have been around since 2006 putting out music independently. I received the cassette from indie tape bistro Repose Records earlier this year and it has since become one of my favorites. It’s also out on Vinyl, very recently actually. I’d recommend this to any black metal fan, especially those I see on social media growing weary of post-black releases this year. Wandar encompass most forms of black metal and won’t bore you about it.

Artwork by Derek Castro

The opening track “Winden” should be an easy place for most people to make a decision, it’s a 9-minute track that pulls you right into the experience with it’s unexpected emotional timbre. There’s a good balance of melancholy and roaring black metal. Even parts with cleaner guitars or a symphonic backing still carry an essence of frustration and anger – The vocals do wonders for this.

It’s not surprising to me that the vocalist Skoll von Kallenheim has a fair bit of experience with other bands, this is quite clearly a performer and not just a metal frontman. You can expect a good variety of your usual black metal growling but also some magnificent howls with expressive contortions that remind me of some of Mizmor‘s vocals.

Wandar: Bandcamp / Spotify / Facebook / Metallum

There’s some folky elements by the third track “Fylgia” where we get our first hint of pure melody, an operatic voice can be heard in the background for some time. It’s ok but nothing was really done with it, it’s kinda just there because that’s what’s supposed to be on a European black metal album I guess. The song still has really great points and when they use a similar guest vocalist towards the end of the album it is much more captivating. In general, any track where it slows or quietens down, the vocals will come swinging back in and the musicians are always ready to emphasis the moment with acute timing.

This album is spiritually strong, if you like to imagine a lot of natural things like waterfalls, forests and wolves – it speaks to the primal solitude loving being in all of us. It’s everything you want from black metal with enough of it’s own little twists to keep you guessing.

Tape courtesy of Repose Records

The physical tape is worth mentioning because it has the trimmings of a major label cassette coming out of an independent label. Strong case and shell, a very pretty designed shell and a monster of an inlay just packed with art, lyrics and information. Repose is doing great things for independent bands in terms of cassette releases. So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed three of their releases from their most recent season.


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