I keep being amazed by the unique sounds that emerge from the Dutch black metal scene. Moerasbasterdwerik, Ibex Angel Order, Nachtdwaelen and Himelvaruwe are proof of a diverse, urgent and intense sound.
This was mostly written a longer while ago, but I think these records are great and warrant a bit of notoriety if I can help it. I enjoyed them very much.
Moerasbasterdwerik – Gebaag uit de Banmade
The Moerasbasterdwederik is actually a cute little flower, but in this case, it’s some grisly, gruesome black metal from the heart of the Netherlands. Gebaag uit de Banmade was produced by a duo that has a love for nature and vodka, judging from their limited range of band photos. In that sense, Moerasbasterdwederik (which is a fucking nightmare to remember or write correctly) reflects some classic black metal tendencies and attitude. That’s a good thing in an overly mystified and over-intellectualized genre. Wait, was that a bird chirping in the middle of the abyssal sounds of ‘Doodsroeper, Weeklager’, a track that sounds remarkably underproduced. just right for my tastes.
Moerasbasterdzwerik likes their high-paced, whiny guitars and rattling drums. There’s something quite odd about the guitar sounds, which almost sound like a continuous flow at times, dissonant, yet pleasing. The vocals are just a wild how hard to decipher at the best of times. Most interesting is the amount of little sound-effects like snapping twigs you hear on this record, suddenly breaking your mesmerized state. Truly, you can listen to ‘Grijsbehaard, de Oude Wilg’ in a complete state of trance. I guess this is the music produced by the filthy patches of green in our inner cities. There is undeniable beauty to be found in it, but also the grim reality of defiled patches of gras by human filth. That’s how I feel about this record at least, as ‘Vliegend Onraad’ closes with some doomy black metal punk and harrowing acoustics.
Heidens Hart/Terratur Possessions/Ván Records/Fallen Temple
If anyone is putting the occult back in occult black metal, it is the Ibex Angel Order. A duo, connected through bands like Sauron, Abysmal Darkening and Funeral Goat, while singer and guitar player Herr Aids is also individually active in acts like Sekte and Verbum Verus. The vocals surge into the wavery tides of abyssal riffing with the strength of a doom speech from a prophet. ‘I.ô. Creatôr’ is declaiming the words of the end times. The music is hypnotic and feels almost hypnotic in its dense, wall of sound-like quality. There is a simple yet effective cadence to the way the music spikes out and grows. Battle horns, clean shouts and a bombastic, grand opening in the middle with fierce tremolo riffs complete the image.
The movements become grimmer on ‘I.ô. Destrôyer’. Its intro feels like a run-up, the way a wave pulls in and creates a strange calm just before it falls down with all its crushing weight. Yet the song raises itself upwards even further, as the pace quickens and the voice growls about the rotting fruits of our world. The song ever rises and keeps you on your toes till the end, which is a remarkable effort of speed and force.
Nachtdwaelen – Dodenmasker
I have found relatively little information about the project Nachtdwaelen, but in 2018 the act emerged and this release came out earlier this year, following 2018 release ‘Geestenstroom’. The sound is high-paced, frantic at times with an immense amount of layered tremolo riffing and dense production. At times it all presses together into the swirling, grand movements that make it so captivating. Surprisingly, Nachtdwaeler is the sole member of this band, which only emphasizes its strength as a piece of music that for me touches upon the very essence of what I like in black metal. Speed, aggression, darkness and oppressive atmosphere as delivered on the title track and the foggy haze of guitars that is ‘Mist’
On ‘Duister’ we get a bit more dense and violent, as chanting opens up the track. Blasting through it on ferocious drums, the song rains down on the listener with vitriolic urgency. On ‘Zwerver’ we really get into the depths of darkness, that I so love about this type of metal. It feels like everything is crashing down to untold depths in this eerily atmospheric song. The gentle melody wraps itself around the cold streams of sound that keep on flowing. It is here that Nachtdwaelen, to me, truly captures something harrowingly beautiful with the sound.
Himelvaruwe – Het Ondenkbare
This project by T., also active in Kaffaljidhma and Mirre, has been around for a while. This demo was released in 2019 and the style is described as mystical black metal. Notable is the white/blue cover art and the transcendental keys that waver as a backdrop to the repetitive, gritty rhythm. There’s a sense of clarity to the music, therefore, which bespells the listener easily. This Himelvaruwe release was recorded during a fever dream, and that it definitely feels like.
Yet at the heart of the sound is something primal and nihilistic, there’s only that forward motion. The eerie atmospheric music and rhythm don’t interact, they don’t converse and weave into each other, they just let you follow. As they compete, the distorted, violent side takes over and seems to pick up in urgency, but that might just be listeners’ perception here. As what seems as an angelic voice soars above, we burn away the darkness towards a crescendo with haste and then… there’s merely silence.