We have already encountered Ande’s 2015 debut Licht, and now it’s time to take a look at the follow up.
Longer by about 15 minutes than the first release, Het Gebeente is a more mature, confident and assured selection of dark hymns.
Starting off with a piano intro, the remaining five songs, (the sixth is different), mix the second wave of black metal with a few more modern elements. With a largely raw, old-school delivery, the songs benefit from these more modern influences that mainly manifest in the solos and leads, as well as the more depressive/emotive aspects of some of the rhythm guitars.
Think a combination of Burzum and Wolves in the Throne Room.
Fast, blasting aggression is tempered with mid-paced emotive sections and slower, atmospheric workouts. All of it is very well done, but some of the latter parts are particularly effective.
The mix of styles and moods works well, with the artist clearly demonstrating that he understands the compositional demands of his chosen medium. The way that the faster sections flow smoothly into the slower sections, and vice versa, is very good.
The dark riffs and blackened melodies scattered across these songs are very enjoyable, with a lot of depth and nuance to the performance. On first listen it’s obvious that there’s a lot to enjoy here, but this becomes even more apparent on subsequent listens.
There’s a good amount of variety here too. Oud en Vet, for example, has some punkier Darkthrone influences, while the final track Uittrede is a dark ambient experience to finish the listener off to.
Tortured, throat-shredding vocals are as raw and hate-filled as you’d want them to be. At just the right level in the mix they enhance the music with their grim screams.
Het Gebeente is a very high-quality black metal release. The songs inhabit that glorious hinterland between atmosphere and aggression, taking the best of both without going too far into either.
Very highly recommended.