March 26, 2024

German psych-rock collective Ornamental will release their first studio album Verwandlung Im Schlaf on April 11th via Pink-Tank Records, the self-described “Heavy Music Love Machine” label based in Germany. Combining elements of heavy, psych-rock with 80’s influenced synthesizers, the quartet sound like the Germanic counterpart of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, or maybe US trio King Buffalo. Fans of these two bands, plus the likes of Narla, Slift and All Them Witches should also be intrigued by these guys. Verwandlung Im Schlaf translates as “Transformation in Sleep”, but I don’t think there’s much worry of nodding off during this song-set!

Originally formed as a solo project of Sidney Jaffe (Arcane Allies, Burnpilot) the band transformed into a power quartet with Jonas Hehemann (Burnpilot, Tv Strange) on bass, Rouven Bienert (Tv Strange, Ruins) on Guitar/Synth and Lennart Uffmann (Brandmann) on the drums.

Ornamental

This album takes listeners on a exciting journey through various musical landscapes, and often during the duration of just one song. The set opens with Erosion, a breathless zoom of a track, with express train drums and bass pounding along, some dark guitar, some crashing riffs at times and non-stop bubbling synth work – the whole knitting together in a glorious, frenzied, break-neck tear-away beast. Vocals are in German, but there’s no denying the power and allure of this chaotic track!

Esoteric Warfare takes the pace down a notch or three, it’s a hugely atmospheric, exotic number that evokes shades of “Kashmir”, but its altogether darker, painting a bleak picture of a desolate and monochromatic desert. It revs up hugely into an brain-crushingly heavy conclusion before fading away again into the horizon.

Maelstrom sweeps us off the road and transports us straight to space in a hypnotic, unrelentingly pacey work-out. The bass-line is particularly impressive, putting down a base for some swirling synths that whirl around and around….heavy, heavy riffs then come crashing through – Hawkwind-like, I could imagine the Hawks stretching this one out to around half an hour! Disciple is the longest track on here, at just over eight minutes. an extended work-out that whirls into a space-rock vibe, lots of sustained keys and guitar lines, held together by a metronomic percussion line that is again quite mesmeric. Big chords enter and fade but the drummer keeps on going.

Methastasis brings the album to a conclusion, another slightly chaotic number, sort of Kraftwerk going severely metal but with that same non-stop unerring, undeviating beat driving the beast relentlessly onwards. Lots of sustain, distortion, all within a clean soundmix so that it never gets stodgy – I’m surprised at just how Heavy this gets at times!

Looping hypnotic bass lines, psychedelic guitars and cosmic synths all revving up a German vocal frenzy, Verwandlung im Schlaf is a unique and diverse album that could appeal to a lot of fans of kraut rock, psychedelic rock and synth-rock.