Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2021, Heidens Hart Records
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Kjeld, a black metal band from Netherlands, is ready to share their new creation with listeners. Created under the label of Heidens Hart Records, their sophomore record Ôfstân shows how the band’s skill and creativity have increased during years of recording.
The lyrics of the songs are solely chanted in beautiful Frisian which is minority Germanic language most closely related to English. The album title can be translated as “Distance”. To me, the language sounds also like German or some Scandinavian languages, and that adds authenticity to the record. However, I’ve found some moments that felt to me like drawbacks – nothing crucial, but spoiling the impression a little bit.
I started vaguely feeling this after the very first track, Betsjoend (Meaningful). Overall I enjoyed the sound, with those coarse vocals adding bitterness to the gloomy image of the song. At the same time I didn’t quite understand some of the mood changes in the song, so some of the parts just sounded a little strange.
Though I had zero reprimands for the next two tracks, they belong among my favourites from Ôfstân. De Iensume Widner (The Lonely Widner) is a great song with a truly monolithic sound and some immaculate growling parts. I especially enjoyed the epic guitar riffs as well as intense, extra energetic drumming. A belligerent vibe continued in Wylde Rixt (Wild Rixt). It’s truly wild, with savage rhythms that sound like a footsteps or someone running. In accompaniment with dark tone of other instruments it creates a picture of a hunt and chasing the victim. Ominous guitar sounds and additional creepy occult effects raise the dreadfulness to an insane level.
The title track was also pretty good, with instrumentals creating that epic battle vibe through the whole song alongside with comparatively melodic vocals. The instrumental solo in the middle of the track only made this medieval legend/ballad theme stronger, and I absolutely loved it.
I must add that I enjoyed the particular composition decision in Wite Fokel (White Fokel) and Falske Doop (False Baptism), and it was the decision to start those songs with a chilly intro. Those beautiful and melodic parts really do prepare listener for a much more aggressive sound, which hits harder after a moment of calmness. The transitions though, especially in Falske Doop, were kind of disappointing for me. They are neither steady nor sharp, which sounds really weird, like they failed in both options.
My absolute favourite would be the closing track, Konfrontaasje (Confrontation). The guitars there actually won my sympathy from the first notes. It’s a very cool and dynamic song with some gloomy tinge, which I was happy to listen to even when I was already tired from listening to other songs.
Overall I would say that Ôfstân deserves a look. Despite the fact that Kjeld might have made some mistakes in it (just according to my taste), there’s a bunch of really great songs that you might want to add to your black metal playlist.