De Doden Hebben Het Goed II by Wiegedood

Release date: February 10, 2017
Label: Consouling Sounds

It’s probably fair to say that Wiegedood got attention for their debut album, De Doden Hebben Het Goed, as much because of the members as the music. After all, this is a Church of Ra supergroup, comprising prior from Amenra, Oathbreaker, Hessian and Rise and Fall. However, all the positive vibes were fully justified, because De Doden Hebben Het Goed was a very good album for those who like their metal black, bleak and atmospheric.

A little over a year later, following guitarist Gilles and drummer Wim helping Oathbreaker make one of the best albums of 2016, Wiegedood are back. And this one, whose title accurately suggests that it follows directly from their debut, is even better. Way better.

For a start, there is less of a one-dimensional squall to this one. The massive, relentless sheets of noise are still there, but there is a more aggressive, orthodox approach and a greater use of light and shade. There is more evidence of songwriting in this album, rather than the product of some like minded metalheads getting together and playing loud, as was on their first effort, which sounded simultaneously fresh and draining, such was the intensity.

One example is the subtle time-shift in the opener, ‘Ontzielling’, from the pin-you-to-the-wall beginning, which launches from a massive chunky riff into some intricate and precise speed-metal-style single-string mayhem, then shifts into an equally aggressive, but more atmospheric ending.

‘Cataract’ begins with a lonely clean guitar, but explodes into a foreboding martial beat, which fades amid a howl of feedback, before the vocalist utters a blood-curdling roar and chaos ensues. The title track (roughly translated as “The dead are doing well”) behind with the vocalist rasping over what sounds like a harmonium. It’s an unnerving juxtaposition of a meditative instrument with the harsh, atonal black metal vocals.

However, it does provide an appropriate introduction to the widescreen stomp of the song proper, which benefits from the comforting drone of throat singing (or something approximating throat singing) to make it strangely soporific. It is a highlight in an album of consistent excellence. If ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed II” sends you off into a noisy-music nirvana, then ‘Smeekbede’ will drag you back to harsh reality.

It is aggressive, in-your-face and ideal angry music, complete with palm-muted accents and full-frontal guitar chugs, offset by icy blasts of blackness. It is yet more evidence of how much this band has grown since their debut. And as misanthropic noise goes, it’s tons of fun.

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