I had the pleasure of reviewing “De Doden Hebben het Goed” in 2015, and I was pleased to receive the sequel to listen to. The first part ingrained itself upon my psyche as a black metal album of great power, technique and precision.

That same intensity is here from the outset, as is the epic structure. As black metal goes, this may be too clean and clinical for some, but personally I’m not looking for dirtiness. In fact I’d say the sound is so memorable and accentuated that it comes across like it’s the best live concert you ever went to. This is about quality. What I found in the opener “Ontzielling” was fire and purpose. Always strong, this is a great wall with all the musicians and the vocalist preaching from the same furious sheet. The ascent is majestic and uncompromising. It does not come down for a second. After an uncharacteristically quiet opening, “Cataract” launches into epic melancholy, with the drum beating mechanically as the guitarist plays a powerful tune. It’s repetitive. I guess that’s to get us in the zone. Of course it explodes and catches fire. Frenzy replaces melancholy. We find ourselves in the midst of a turbulent scene. This is truly exciting. “Cataract” leads into “De Doden Hebben het Goed II” with a kind of cosmic ambience. The vocalist rasps and the ambient noise, which has almost a Cajun feel about it, adds another original element to this most element work. Then there is a build-up, but it’s not a token build-up. Its patient but it’s big and expansive. The drum treads like leaden feet, causing the earth to vibrate and the listener to shudder at the enormity. Wiegedood look down from the temple of fear, over which they preside. Wiegedood should mean warlords, because that’s what they are. For the record, Wiegedood means cot death. “De Doden Hebben het Goed II” crackles into oblivion, and without further ado, the next assault “Smeekbede” is upon us. The guitar work is impressively crunchier, but in this permanent arson attack, it is impossible not to be sucked into the relentless and epic atmosphere. Strange sounds invade the background to infiltrate our brain, as the violence continues … and reaches its horrible, throaty end.

There are no gimmicks with this band. This is something I really like. No nonsense. There are sound effects but it’s entirely deliberate and enhances the black scenes that they depict with such clarity. Belgian band Wiegedood, with members from Amenra, Hessian Oathbreaker and Rise And Fall don’t need advice from anyone. Their song structures and progressions fit together perfectly, and in doing so they excite us with powerful atmospheres. This is black metal at its most exhilarating, exciting and accessible.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)