Sweet Ermengarde is a gothic rock project from Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr region reflecting the 1980’s British doom and gloom in all its finery. By injecting other musical influences, ranging from ‘70s progressive rock, psychedelia, dark ambient and early postpunk the project is far from being a mere reproduction of the past. Sweet Ermengarde transpose their musical roots, in the shape of visceral and energetic sonics, into the heart of the drab 2020s: dark and atmospherically dense – ethereal, yet energetic soundscapes with plaintive foggy guitars, trance-inducing drums, and the driving bass of the band’s founder and main figure Lars Kappeler. This otherworldly mixture of ingredients is elevated by the sombre tones of the present vocalist and lyricist D.
Sweet Ermengarde’s lineup on 2021’s double-single
Lars Kappeler: bass, guitar, keys
Simon Rippin: guest drums
D: vocals, guitar, keys
Both of their past releases, the ghostly romantic debut ‘Raynham Hall’ (2013) and the obsidian fever dream ‘Ex Oblivione’ (2016), are hailed as modern classics of the gothic rock genre. In April 2021 Sweet Ermengarde eventually return with their long-awaited follow-up in the shape of a cryptic double-single release. The project’s current core members joined forces with gothic rock’s supreme drummer Simon Rippin (The Eden House, ExNefilim/Fields of the Nephilim among others) as guest musician. The resulting two tracks Kappeler attests as “without a doubt, Sweet Ermengarde’s best production – not least because of the fantastic mastering job of Glaswegian Gordon Young.” Like a black and white pillar, the 2021 single release showcases the two sides of the legendary German band.
Representing the lighter fraction of their œuvre, the melancholic yet deceitful pseudo-ballad Once You Break is a classically constructed mid-tempo track evoking the band’s earlier days of their ‘Raynham Hall’ era. However, living in the aether between the debut and the sophomore album ‘Ex Oblivione’, it points forward, as it is neither fully the one nor the other. The alleged “song of hope” comes to shine with Kappeler’s and Rippin’s tight rhythm section, full of subtle musical nuances, dynamically perfectly fitting the lyric’s angsty but sweet and lustful apocalypticism.
The hypnotic and ritualistic gothic rock anthem Typhonian Trance is a completely different beast of a track. By fusing their native musical roots, in the form of opiatic krautrock elements, with the arcane, the single’s more obscure nightside atmospherically explores different planes of existence – just before demasking itself as an energetic and catchy thelemic paean. This contrast between both songs is craftfully illustrated in the artwork once again provided by Madrid-based artist and illustrator Billyphobia for the single’s vinyl release.
On April 1st 2021 Typhonian Trance and Once You Break will be released as a digital single on all platforms. The preorder for a limited 10’’ double A-sided vinyl will start the very same day on Sweet Ermengarde’s bandcamp.