When collaborations work, they illuminate.
The new release by ConSouling Sounds is a culmination of one well known band and the debut of a new really interesting music project: the Italian post-rock, sludge instrumental band Vanessa Van Basten and the Belgium sludge, black metal and hardcore band Hemelbestormer. This cooperation can be seen as a weird choice considering the different style of the two bands involved. Two tracks from the Blegium band, two from the Italian band and two songs where the Italian post-rock meets the Belgium metal sound to create something really unique. Someone could find it hard to believe that within a mere six songs so much substance can be found, but both Vanessa Van Basten and Hemelbestormer manage to pack more into six tracks than most bands can do in a full length album.
Listeners are first greeted with Hemelbestormer, the Belgium quintet “with revolutionary views”, and its ‘Alpha’ that is 9 minutes of droning guitars, cavernous drums and solemn atmosphere that catch every possible vibration of the trembling frame of a enlivened new mansion. At around five minutes in the sound is so great that I remained speechless. I think they achieve the peak with 'Omega', the last song of the release. The song starts exactly from that point where 'Alpha' finishes; it has the same theme and similar guitar riffs and awesome drum beats that seems like a rhythmic march of a giant: slow and solemn. Hemelbestormer (which literally translates as “stormer of heaven”) creates something so staggeringly emotional, so balanced between darkness and light that you'll be astonished by it.
The Italian side of the EP brings the sound of post-rock such as This Will Destroy or Explosion In The Sky with elements of black metal and sludge. Press play on 'Odyssey Song' and you'll jump into a world of heavy riffs with whispers and spoken words, melodies that won't leave your brain and a mixture of love and hate. Sometimes, somewhere there's also an happy melody. The rhythm and the dynamics of 'Hidden Under Terms Like' will keep you swaying. The start is great and the vocals are the necessary additional instrument. Simultaneously expressing desolation, sadness, triumph, and, above all, hope, this track is impressive. Experimental is probably the tag I would use to categorise the music of the italian duo.
The two sides of the release meet in 'Portal I' and 'Portal II'. These two tracks are more ambient drone and here and there they add elements of noise, experimental and acoustic guitars. 'Portal I' opens with a long white noise and only in the second half of it an enchanting melody appears and you realise you are listening to a masterpiece in the art of colaboration. 'Portal II' is just as intense as 'Portal I' with its mix of ambient elements, slow doom metal riffs and elements of post-rock, but more atmospheric; sometimes it comes to be dramatic but always definitely emotional.
For sure Hemelbestormer and Vanessa Van Basten are two different bands, but despite those differences they seem to perfectly complement each other on this six track Split release.
Recommended to the open minded.
1) Hemelbestormer - Alpha
2) Hemelbestormer & Vanessa Van Basten - Portal I
3) Vanessa Van Basten - Odyssey Song
4) Vanessa Van Basten - Hidden Under Terms Like
5) Hemelbestormer & Vanessa Van Basten - Portal II
6) Hemelbestormer - Omega