Georg Börner, the man behind ColdWorld, displayed a good deal of confidence in the emotive power of his full length debut when he decided to title it Melancholie2. Unfortunately, he seems to have miscalculated. While on the surface, the album displays lots of sorrow, angst and moodiness, it all feels contrived and unconvincing. Melancholie2 feels like having a funeral when no one has died; you’re going through the motions but you’re not sure what for.
Categorically, ColdWorld is best described as depressive post-black metal. The music displays a decent amount of Norwegian influence (especially Burzum), but there are a number of dissonant, dreary passages that recall Xasthur. From post-rock, there are many of moments of icy dreaminess that hint at Sigur Ros and clean guitar leads similar to those of Explosions in the Sky. A number of soundtrack style ambient passages round out ColdWorld’s sound.
These elements are employed in the pursuit of a sorrowful, reflective atmosphere. However, poor execution means that the affect is only achieved at the surface level. While the musicianship is technically sound, it is too austere. The cleanliness of the performance stands in stark contrast to the deep emotions Georg is trying to draw out. The performance has no soul. No energy bursts forth from the guitar, the drums are flat and the synths are especially inundating. Georg is infatuated with these female vocal samples that sound like they were lifted from an Enya album. Only the violin—which is a creative touch on Georg’s part—really draws out any fervor. Another problem is that the vocals are quite poor. Georg has a weak and crackly growl. He tries to shelter it with distortion and reverb, but lipstick can only do so much for a pig.
The closer to metal ColdWorld remains, the better it sounds. “Tortured by Solitude,” which blends post-rock leads, mournful violin and metallic fuzz is actually quite beautiful. “Red Snow” is also fairly effective; it starts in a doomy dirge before peaking in a skyscraping post-rock lead. On the other hand, the more rock or ambient tracks are tortuously dull. “Escape” is the worst culprit, employing disjointed electronic percussion and lulling lead guitar over for eight excruciating minutes. Unfortunately, this sort of sleep-inducing drivel makes up about one-third of the album.
At its best, Melancholie2 is like a good Hollywood drama. Even though it’s synthetic and follows a predictable storyline, it still manages to pull at your heart strings, albeit in a mechanical fashion. At its worst, Melancholie2 is like a daytime soap opera; it’s full of unbelievable melodrama, unconvincing emotions and plastic execution. In both cases, ColdWorld fails to stir anything beyond the most shallow of emotions.