This is the debut album from Nachtmaer, a one-man Belgian black metal act.
Van de Mare Bereen contains 39 minutes of black metal. There are four songs, each one featuring a different singer, (from bands such as Kludde, Toorn, Soul Dissolution, L’Hiver en Deuil, Antzaat, Ars Veneficium, and Dissolve Patterns).
The songs are inspired by the second wave, and manifest as atmospheric black metal with a traditional feel. The dark atmospheres are thick and immersive, and the raw presentation is harsh, but welcoming if you’re acclimatised to the rough-yet-alluring sounds of the underground.
Marevlechten is a slow-burning mood-based work of menace and darkness. The vocalist snarls his way through the music, while icy guitars create frosted vistas for his scarring voice to hunt in. It’s a song that grows with power over time, not just the more you listen to it, but as you’re listening too; it carries an understated power that’s insidious.
Following this we have the more immediate Mijn Vlucht door de Nacht, which has a punky Darkthrone feel to it, while still being wrapped in atmospheric mists. In keeping with the music, the vocals are harsh, blunt, and unforgiving. There are some stirring melodies and epic synths, despite the song having a cold heart of malevolent evil.
I Am the Nightmare is a haunting slice of freezing blackened malignancy. Setting an instantly engaging atmosphere, the music explodes into blast beats after a couple of minutes, while still managing to maintain the mood it has built. It’s hostile, but then morphs into a richly atmospheric section that’s undeniably grandiose. The singer delivers a sterling performance throughout.
Van de Mare Bereen closes with De Dreivoudschart, which is the longest and most ambitious track here. It offers a grim journey into Nachtmaer’s world, and is the most diverse track on this release. This is a well-crafted song that is absorbing in its grim majesty. The singer howls, screams, chants, and roars, and his delivery is captivating. The song itself ends after 9 minutes, and the remaining 4 minutes consists of an ambient sea of soothingly mysterious synths.
This album has clearly had a lot of passion and energy poured into it, and the results speak for themselves. Enjoyable and satisfying, Van de Mare Bereen is worth exploring late at night, in the dark, when you can’t possibly sleep properly.
Highly recommended for explorers of the blackened underworld.