WederA gruesome world is presented to us, based on spirits, undeath and horror. This trio from the Netherlands pay homage to this world where dead people return by infusing the pitch black atmosphere with strange sounds, deep mantra-like chants and general dementia.

I can’t make sense of this but I guess it doesn’t matter. To start it’s suggestively hypnotic, then dark and demented vocal intervene with a deep gothic backing. Finally “Dwaallichtbezwering” (Wildfire Incantation), which opens the album, cranks up and in a way that is reminiscent of Khold, blasts away insistently at the soul that suggests mayhem. By contrast “Gelderse Drek” starts off in a begrudging and trudging fashion. The progress is once again hypnotic. The scene is unremittingly obscure. “Dodendans” (Dance of Death) features death’s chorus. It puts me in mind of a similarly titled track by the now defunct French band Latrodectus. Deeply bass-tone vocals expansively tell the story, backed by a bleak guitar line before notching up in tone and ghastliness. The pattern is repeated on “Wera Wulfa” which has the feel of maggots crawling out of woodwork, Mayhem style. In the signals of doom, the dual vocals ring out scarily and mayhem erupts. “Halfvergaan Ontwaakt” is an unusual album, especially on a vocal level, but I found its patterns were predictable. Once again gloomy progression erupts into fury and unstoppable violence on “Vlammenvonnis” (Judgement of Flames). To its credit, this album only deals in shadows. There is no light.

After a classically gothic and suitably eerie piano piece, “Walmend Graf” (Smoky Grave) takes off in a different direction from what we’ve experienced so far. Of course it’s dark but as a piece of metal, it is more traditional in style, even conveying a hint of Opeth in its progression. To finish, “Zwarte Gedachten” (Dark Thoughts) captures the prevalent atmosphere of a dark and filthy world.

“Halfvergaan Ontwaakt” is for the connoisseur of atmospheric black metal. It’s possibly not the most original work I’ve ever heard but it’s effective and without question the output matches the horror-filled theme.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)