Reviewed: May 2015
Released: 2015, Consouling Sounds
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
This debut album from Wiegedood proves itself to be a great addition to the existing atmospheric black metal world. Even though each have their own backgrounds in different metal genres, each member of this experienced Belgian trio shows that they have been avid black metallers all along. Their unexpected band setup might raise an eyebrow or two at first, but their initial attempt is adamant in making any doubters change their minds.
De Doden Hebben het Goet is an atmospheric black metal album comprised of four fairly lengthy songs. The production of the album is of high quality, and the absence of bass guitar is very well compensated with guitar and drum tones. While the instrumental sections are not production-wise unexpected, the use of vocals stands out in the album. Going along with the fact that the trio is after creating an atmosphere in which the listener sinks uncontrollably, the vocals are treated perfectly, and it stays on the same level as other instruments without intruding on the soundscape. More importantly, in more than one place, the vocals are placed strategically to improve the sense of space in the album.
The album starts with energetic fury in ‘Svanesang’ (literally swans singing) and uses well-established techniques for creating the intended brooding atmosphere with intriguing interplay between guitars weaved throughout the song. This 13+ minute epic gives an acoustic break at the right moment to let the listener bathe in the melancholic song of the swans, only to return to its renewed intensity. It is true that the fade out at the very end leaves the listener slightly disappointed, however the final section of the song abandons you to your own thoughts over fierce guitars and drumming coupled with acoustic whispers.
‘Kwaad Bloed’ (literally angry blood, or bad blood), the second track of the album, begins with the same energy of the opening track. Different guitar sections are worth mentioning here, because Wiegedood’s original ideas become apparent in this song. The guitar riff with sliding incorporate show the originality of the trio, and the short conversational section between guitars perfectly reflect the title of the song, and depicts the bad blood between these conflicting sounds. The guitar solo is effective in bringing despair to the mood before blending back into the texture. The sudden break is followed by the beginning of the end – with a somewhat out-of-place drum attack, and the vocal line shifts places here and it is placed at the back while the noise builds up. This, it turns out, signals the devastation that is to come in the next track.
The title track of the album, which can be literally translated to ‘The Dead Have it Good’, is definitely the highlight of the album, with its solemn beginning. This song’s impression on the listener further proves the well thought out structure of the album. The reflective intro provides a welcome change of pace from the overall arch of the album. Synaeve appropriately switches to a more desperate and sullen scream, and the guitars play in a much more pulsating manner than they have before. These factors make this song a well-deserved title track.
The album comes to an end with ‘Onder Gaan’ (literally to go under). The final song quickly picks up the pace, after the melancholic break, and the mood veers back to unrelenting woe. The interesting tempo shift at the middle of the song is followed by a siren-like section. The trio felt that this section was not enough to put the listener at unease, so they decided to simultaneously incorporate a drone that further increases the agitation, releasing you into oblivion. The voice-over in Russian brings a chilling end to the album.
De Doden Hebben het Goed is definitely going to leave you miserable at the end, if not because of its bleak atmosphere, then because it’s over. Overall, the album is an interesting and enjoyable listen with good ideas executed really well. Wiegedood’s self-professed influences like French atmospheric black metal acts, Winterfylleth and Wolves in the Throne Room can be heard in this album,. But the trio demonstrates thoroughly that they are a good addition to the genre, and more importantly they have something more to say beyond these bands.
Review by M. Selim Yavuz
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