Weird German fantasists The Ministry of Wolves base their songs around fairytales by The Brothers Grimm. And why not. Suitably dark and sinister, these tracks will surely reignite the nightmares you had as a kid when you woke up convinced there was a wolf under the bed or a headless wood cutter lurking in the bushes outwide. Theatrical, dark German mayhem.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 19 November 2014
This neo-classical German pantomime takes cues from post-rock -- if it’s the kind that makes you dread, then fear, then break down -- while also absorbing electro-acoustic, spoken word, drone and neofolk. If you’ve ever wondered how confounding and perplex a simple narrative could get, then you’ll find out from ‘Happily Ever After’, which abruptly switches between different languages and fairytales, reeling them off like absolutely distinct vignettes that exist in universes far, far away from one another. ‘Naked Lunch’ has got nothing on this; the first song reads out German names while guitar worthy of Efrim Menuck’s blank slate composing hovers in the backdrop. Before long, it’s replaced with suspended accordion sounds and stifling strings on “Little Red Riding Hood”, a song that regales a sinister medieval tale before its narrator bursts into an anthemic sing-along readymade for New Jersey punks on a Bruce Springsteen high and a vague interest in harps. It’s pretty niche, I know, but if you’re listening to the Ministry of Wolves’ ‘Happily Ever After’, the chances are that you’re pretty niche too.
‘Happily Ever After’ is based on a vast selection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, which we might now term horror stories for their spectral qualities and fixation with death. But in the same way you only tell one fairytale a night, and then retire to bed, the record feels like a collection of separately excellent short stories that don’t add up to a full-bodied work. The styles are distinct to the point of feeling cut off from one another, shifting from near-drones to banjo-plucked folk ditties that exist in an entirely different context. The music on ‘Happily Ever After’ is startling, well constructed and suitably terrifying, but it requires about ten different head-spaces. One at a time, please.
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