De Oord by Fluisteraars and Turia

Release date: September 29, 2018
Label: Haeresis Noviomagi / Eisenwald

First of three releases coming out of small Dutch collective label Haeresis Noviomagi on tape, and CD and LP on Eisenwald, German label and distro with a great alertness to local extreme underground scenes that deserve a wider audience. De Oord is a great split by two Dutch masters of serious, experimental and intense black metal.

Fluisteraars have been around on Eisenwald for several releases already, but for me their contribution to this split impresses significantly beyond their previous work. ‘Oeverloos’ has a gripping confidence to it, self-assured and unafraid of some melodic backgrounds because the pure fire and energy in the riffs burns away any possibility of power being diminished by some epic atmospherics. Coming in after a very brief gurgling rainwater intro, we get a face-smashing riff with a fierce metal cage of a drumbeat, then punctured by an extreme yell, the distinctively Dutch syllables backed with yet more surging noise power… it’s quite an exhilarating start. After a false reprieve, it then continues at this level of intensity for fully nine more minutes, with shifts and harmonic gear changes handled expertly with no letup in power. The band are brimming with ideas, and the detail of the transitions is so well done it really adds up to a finely finished piece, a brilliant mastery of raw atmospherics, a full exploration of the form. And then you realise the track is only half over… the band are confident to repeat the unravelling section at the ten minute mark, before a wild, crushing second act steps onto another plane entirely, hammering away in gripping harmony and then spinning into some strange dreamworld of ethereal vocals. The astonishing part is how they can move through changes to keep things intriguing, while transmitting consistent power that never wavers in the long journey through developing dimensions.

The dark watery swirlings return to bring in Turia‘s piece which is a nice way to tie the halves together. This for me was the most anticipated track on the release slate, with this band providing the most powerful black metal in existence from the last few years. In addition to the brutal atmospheric classics Dede Kondre and Dor, their festival set in a cave of a bar in Tilburg in 2017 was by a distance my live music highlight of the year. Anyway, here their track, ‘Aan den Golven der Aarde Geofferd’ is a icy blast, less melodically bright than Fluisteraars’ offering, presenting instead a menacing churn, a tightly wound riff joined by thunderous drums and a snarling shout. Vaguely shaped like words but communicating something more animal or demonic than human, this is underground black metal vocals nailed, both in delivery and production, submerged a bit so as to become instrumental harsh texture rather than anything so transparent as language. Then the riff sort of turns inside out while the clatter keeps up, bringing in a fearsome pressure. This finally breaks, falling into chalky grey organ tones that drift and lean, pierced again by sharp slow riffs that gradually resummon the furious power. The final section is great, a frothing buzzing guitar cauldron that threatens to spark again but is kept at a restless simmer by clinking piano droplets until once more at last the rains come again. Two savage, weird and complex monsters encountered.

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