Review / Sylvan Realm – Waldeinsamkeit

You know how German seems to have wonderful words that sum up complex feelings in a concise way? Waldeinsamkeit is such a word, roughly translating to “the feeling one has when alone in the woods” – similar to nature connectedness, but with more spiritual implications. It’s also a fitting title for the second album by Sylvan Realm, given that the music contained within has a distinctly autumnal feeling, that of being surrounded by trees, their gold-brown leaves descending from branches in gentle cascades as a chill wind cuts through the air. Waldeinsamkeit is an album steeped in loneliness and introspection, largely eschewing extremity for something darker and more depressing.

Largely mid-tempo, Waldeinsamkeit is an album content to take its time, its 34-minute duration feeling far longer such is the spacious nature of the music. Riffs and melodies hang in the air, and the drumming by Evan Madden displays a strong understanding of the concept that “less is more” – it’s far removed from the relentless assault he performed on Woe’s Quietly, Undramatically. What matters more than any individual moment is the overall mood and atmosphere the music conjures though, and in that sense it’s hard to fault it – Waldeinsamkeit drifts and flows around the listener like an October wind, cold but not unpleasant, heavy with the melancholy of autumn. Yet that aspect of Waldeinsamkeit is also its weakness; the album is so reliant on atmosphere that it is difficult for any individual moments to stand out to linger in the memory once it is done.

As a brief escape from the world though, Waldeinsamkeit does nicely. It is clearly a heart-felt album that has had a lot of time and care go into its crafting, and whilst it may not provide the same kind of spiritual rejuvenation as a day wandering the woods will (because, let’s face it, nothing else can), it still provides a fine moment of refreshment.

Waldeinsamkeit is out now and can be purchased here.

Words: Stuart Wain

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