Split by Wederganger and UrfaustRelease date: June 9, 2017
Label: Ván Records
The Dutch black metal scene is an exciting place to be right now, so a split release by two of the most exciting bands you’ll find in the Lowlands is a treat. Urfaust with their drunken reverie and Wederganger, a band of risen deadites both do two songs on split, released by the magical Ván Records.
It’s not like they weren’t shooting for the top already. Urfaust unleashed their Empty Space Meditation last year, an album that shows the band at their very best (and most distinct). An album that actually made plenty of End of Year lists. The band Wederganger from Gelderland seems to have put all the influences from the crowded regional scene together in one big pot (Heidevolk, Botulistum, Mondvolland, Zwartketterij and more) and distilled from it a potent cocktail of mesmerising sounds from the realms between the world of the living and the dead. This joint effort shows both at their peak.
So let us start with the music from the corpse-filled fields, where Wederganger dwells. The band really relies on the eerie atmosphere they invoke with some haunting tones, that start up the track ‘Heengegaan’ (which translates as ‘Departed’). The group employs a lot of clean sounds in their recordings, which gives a lot of space for the listener to really hear all distinct elements. Another force for the group is the vocals. The interplay between Alfschijn’s clean singing, which moves to some clerical chanting in some parts, and the harsh barks of Botmuyl is really an exciting element in the songs.
On ‘De Gebrokene’ (‘The Broken One’), the band sounds a lot more firm thanks to some powerful guitar work. Pounding, heavy drums give the song an even more colossal sound, while the pace is a laborious drag of sorts. Then it picks up the pace and becomes an energetic, catchy tune with soaring, sonorous singing. The song is actually quite short, but shows a different side of Wederganger and it’s a good side!
You honestly never know what might happen with Urfaust when a new song is released. The duo, originally from around Eindhoven in the Netherlands, are absolute masters of the black metal genre and use it in a playful manner. Perhaps the YouTube videos where black metal is played as surf music (by fictional tongue-in-cheek acts from the sixties like The Burzums, The Emperors etc.) was an inspiration for ‘Zelfbestraffinstendenz en Occulte Raadsels’. The continuously riding cymbals do make this sound exactly like a surf song. The intro also pretty much feels like a Dick Dale song. Fuzzy guitars hide the peculiar, crooning vocals, so unique to this band in a thick tapestry of riffs. The music really flows vibrantly for the first few minutes, before shifting to an almost funeral doom like pace, where the singing becomes a voice of despair.
‘Hypnotisch Bevel – De Daimonische Mensch’ (‘Hypnotic Order – the Demonic Human’) shows a different Urfaust. One that builds up a song for about 6 minutes, a foreboding, slow paced tune that could well be part of a horror film. It never erupts, never seeks to do anything more than just keep the listener in an ominous awaiting.
Both bands manage to show a big range of what they do in just two tracks, proving their diversity as well as their status in the Dutch black metal scene. That makes this record one to get your hands on and makes these bands pretty amazing.