Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wiegedood - De doden hebben het goed II

By Matt Hinch. Now when Belgium’s Wiegedood burst onto the scene in 2015 with De Dodden Hebben Het Goed there was lots of talk about their name. Usually in jest. I was guilty of this. But despite what it looks like it actually translates to “death in the cradle”, commonly referred to as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Pretty painful times.
By Matt Hinch.


Now when Belgium’s Wiegedood burst onto the scene in 2015 with De doden hebben het goed there was lots of talk about their name. Usually in jest. I was guilty of this. But despite what it looks like it actually translates to “death in the cradle”, commonly referred to as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Pretty painful times. And it was a painful album of atmospheric black metal that did a pretty good job of blowing minds away. A few months shy of two years later, they’re back with De doden hebben het goed II and blew my mind all over again.

If you don’t know, Wiegedood is made up of Oathbreaker’s Wim on drums and Gilles on guitar, with Amenra’s Levy on vocals and guitar. (FWIW, the members have also done time in Hessian and Rise and Fall, among a host of others.) This time out the trio have dialed back the atmosphere a little but dialed up the aggression. Most of the time their fury strips flesh from bone. Not all the time, however.

Photos by Webzine Chuul.

The title track lets off the gas some. Levy still screams with a wet, throaty rasp but at the song’s beginning it’s over a haunting tone from what sounds like a melodica(?) before moving into a black metal slot more sonically occupied by a band like Burzum; measured pace, atmosphere and a deep chanting vocal character.

Elsewhere the trio put forth a dynamic and atmospheric take on black metal that never lets you think it’s anything but. Even when “Cataract” starts melodic and morose before launching back into a scorched earth policy. There’s no doubt it’s black metal. And terribly good black metal at that. “Smeekbede” pulls in a little of that grandiose/Behemoth feel while drilling through your breast plate and casting your soul out while tremolos dance in the moonlight, among other things over its dynamic six-plus minutes.

Photo by Webzine Chuul.

As good as those tracks are, and they’re really good, they’re nothing compared to “Ontzeilling”. Pardon my French but it’s fucking amazing. Here’s where you can really feel they doubled down on the fury. From the get-go it’s full on, blasting, with off-the-rails cathartic vocals but around the three minute mark the riff hits. Oh! That riff! It will stop you in your tracks. It’s not just frenetic tremolos. It’s shredding. Mindblowing shred but firmly within the black metal oeuvre. Now, it’s the kind of speed and aggression that one finds in death metal - and the urge to circle headband is fierce - but the picture it conjures is not of gore but a landscape of darkness racing below as you soar towards some unseen point with all possible urgency. It’s almost too much to handle.

De doden hebben het goed II is marvelous. “Traditional” black metal can get flat and tedious if you let it. But bands like Wiegedood (and Winterfylleth) are able to colour the darkness in subtle ways that lift their music up from the horde to a position of power and note. Then grab you by the throat and take off. They’re able to captivate the listener without sacrificing pure, unadulterated ferocity.

Now please excuse me while I air guitar to “Ontzeilling” like a fool while screaming into the void (as Levy does at the end of the album). There’s demons to be unleashed.

Tagged with 2017, black metal, Matt Hinch, Wiegedood
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