Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben het Goed II

There is art in being able to give reverence to the founding, cultural milestones of a creative scene in a manner that still maintains a progressive bent and that is also in keeping with developing a wholly separate artistic entity. For while Wiegedood walk a left hand path through forests and mountains that is strewn with the history and origins of the second wave of Black Metal, theirs is a route of their own hewing, both unsettled and unsettling, on De Doden Hebben het Goed II (Consouling Sounds).

Whilst all three protagonists may have received praise incarnate for their work elsewhere (Oathbreaker and Amenra), the members of Wiegedood are making strides to establish this collective as one of value and true merit in its own right, and this is absolutely the album to ensure their aspirations are met.

Finding an exquisite balance between rage and melancholy, II is hateful when it needs to unleash a fury, such as the second half of ‘Cataract’. Elsewhere it is equal parts reflective and chilling, whilst throughout there are homages to Burzum, none more so than the crawling title track. ‘Ontzeilling’ marries the two, opening with a chaotic maelström before synths arrive halfway through to wrap their blanketing arms in a manner reminiscent of Hordanes Land (Candlelight) and the earliest offerings from Borknagar.

Vocalist Levy Seynaeve achieves that rarity of feats, of producing harsh Black Metal screams that feel genuinely disconcerting, as if he is actually possessed, whether by daemons or by mental anguish is unclear, but his wounded howl is in keeping with the troubled, isolating tone of the album. Meanwhile, Oathbreaker’s Wim Sreppoc enhances a burgeoning reputation with a wholly appropriate performance from behind the kit, unleashing the throttle in a tumult of blasts when required, but respectful of the atmosphere of the more reflective and intricate pieces.

Black Metal is a multi-faceted gem, and while Wiegedood may be a vehicle that incorporates more traditional elements than the other outlets of its creators, the incorporation of a tortured and uncomfortable mentality to the expected tropes, the expertly crafted repetitive dirges, and dalliances with dynamics as part of creating of a distinct identity, has led to Doden Hebben het Goed II; a genuinely exciting and worthwhile horrible album.