Reviewed: April 2022
Released: 2022, Argento Records
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Mysterious Dutch subterranean black metal entity Zwaard (“sword” in English) have emerged with their debut release, Bloed En Wijn. The EP is out now through Argento Records.
Bells ringing eerily signal the arrival of “I”, before the holy atmosphere is decimated by the introduction of wailing guitars, infernal vocals and a relentless rhythm section. For much of the nine and a quarter minutes, one might feel as if they are submerged in blackness. A glimmer of hope does appear during outro, where much of the bleakness is stripped back so that the keyboards can be heard over everything else.
“II” successfully drags the listener back into the abyss, armed with speed and a crushing, consuming assault. The use blast beats work really well on the middle track to depict urgency, while the drumming overall determines how quickly sense of dread that the vocalist provides is communicated. Cavernous echoes in the last moments keep the suspense going, transitioning fluently into the third and final part.
While its predecessor worked mostly quickly, “III” gives off a trance-like vibe with its down-tempo drums and keys twinkling behind slow guitar melodies. Being over eleven minutes in length, the closer does incorporate elements from the other two song such as tempo changes and an outro that contrasts the most cacophonous moments.
Although parts II and III close almost identically, it does not feel repetitious since quite a significant amount of time passes between the two endings. An intriguing, dissonant yet harmonious trio of tracks from the anonymous entity hailing from The Netherlands. For fans of Leviathan, Malacht, Martröð, Mortuus and Reverorum Ib.