Wiegedood – De doden hebben het goed II (Released February 10, 2017 – ConSouling Sounds)
Hailing from Ghent, Belgium, Wiegedood exists in the exciting realm of post-black metal. Too riff heavy for atmospheric black metal and too atmospheric (and well produced) for trve black metal the post-black genre is in fine hands with these Belgians in the fold. Translated from Dutch wiegedood is literally “death in the cradle” and de doden hebben het goed is “the dead are fine.” After hearing De doden hebben het goed II (henceforth De doden II), I can confirm the dead (including those from the cradle) are most definitely fine.
Picking up where 2015’s De doden hebben het goed left off De doden II explodes into existence with Ontzielling. Holding nothing back, it hammers forward with big, solid riffs and rattling drums as the screams slowly fade in and echo across the speakers. Ontzielling is in constant flux, no single riffs gets ridden for everything its worth, as the track continuously searches for a more perfect expression, a better pattern. Finally, after nearly 8-minutes of aural destruction, a reprieve is found as the Ontzielling merges into Cataract. The drums deliver a final pound and the guitars take centre stage with light touches and a slight reverb. Without any build up Cataract returns to a massive atmosphere and time loses meaning as the drums weave a simple but mesmerizing beat and the single line of trems never becomes monotonous. The drums and trems release you from timelessness and lay you gently into the middle of the track, in the distance church bells, slightly off in their sound, as if pitch shifted, provide a lull. Suddenly vocals smash through the thin veil of serenity and drag you back into the tortured hell. Skittering about in high notes a single guitar escapes to crawl about your brain, scratching and clawing into the centre of your mind. Undulating synths take over and the transition to the titular track is marked by distant agonizing vocals. A catchy marching beat rears forth from the synth layer and carries through the entirety of the track. Wafts of pure evil roll from the speakers as a choir conjurers beneath the waves of trems. Just as the album opened it ends, with Smeekbede exploding from the closing feedback of the titular track. The riffs are nearly drum like in their heaviness before transitioning into scathing trem runs which snap up and down your spine like electricity from a broken powerline. Distant screams and pleas for help exist just below the music before the vocals break through. The music comes to an abrupt close but the vocals continue gurgling away for an uncomfortable amount of time before cutting out like the neck containing the brutalized vocal chords had been snapped.
Post-black metal at its finest De doden II was too short and left me craving more. Wiegedood have perfected their art, although I hope they push further, and firmly planted themselves alongside the juggernauts of the genre like Deafheaven and Harakiri for the Sky with De doden II1.