Friday 15 May 2015

Wiegedood - ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’ (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 7/5/2015
Label: Consouling Sounds

‘‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. Svanesang
2. Kwaad Bloed
3. De Doden Hebben Het Goed
4. Onder Gaan

Wiegedood is:

Gilles Demolder | Guitar
Wim | Drums
Levy Seynaeve | Guitar, Vocals


Music writers can be an impossible lot to sort out when it comes to our eccentricities and the occasional leaps in our logic. Particularly when rationalizing why we hate this album but love that album. You’ll read a review decrying black metal as being stagnant and boring from someone who loves another album because it sounds like it could have been a part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I myself have complained about the recent glut of GodCity Studio soundalike bands, while gleefully telling everyone to run out and buy Thulcandra because it sounds just like Dissection circa 1995. I’ve marked albums down for using blast beats where the kick and snare are struck at the same time—something that matters to maybe 50 people on the entire planet—and then talk up the latest Internal Bleeding album because the rest of the album is good enough to make up for the use of the blasting technique.

My point is, we’re all capable of failure in consistency. And in that spirit, I think I’ve reached a headspace where I care less about what “moves a genre forward” or “makes a statement” or whatever else music writers are supposed to care about than I ever have. There’s one primary question and then a follow up and that’s all that I’m really concerned with right now: is it any good? If so: how good? If not: why not? Beyond that, not much else is terribly important. It’s absolutely necessary to have a justification for why you do or don’t like an album, but when it comes to an album needing to meet some arbitrary requirement for being inventive or original; those standards are applied so unevenly and loosely by myself and plenty of others that I’ve decided it’s just a cop out when we really just want to say some variation of “this just doesn’t work for me”.

Now, having written over three-hundred words without even having mentioned the goddamned album yet; the reason I bothered to bring all of that up here is this: Wiegedood’s ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’ is really fucking good even though it does nothing to move the black metal genre forward, nor does it bring something new to the table. The guitar style makes use of techniques we’ve all heard before in a black metal context, same with the drums and vocals. It’s all there, like you’ve heard it done before, and yet it’s excellent. Smartly-crafted melodic black metal, largely carried out in a style that should feel familiar to anyone who’s heard ‘Wodensthrone’, only without the occasional keyboard bed underneath.

Tying back in with my opening rant, what makes this album so good comes from the two pieces of the puzzle that actually amount to something for me right now: songwriting and performance. ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’ is much more impressive in the former category, but strong in the latter. The compositions don’t demand much from a technical performance standpoint, but it’s pretty rare to find something outside of speed and endurance that would be demanding in a black metal album. Often it’s songwriting that plays the most important role in black metal, and that’s where Wiegedood’s current formula excels. There are moments throughout the album that hit you right in the gut and there are moments where you want to headbang until your neck falls off. It’s hard to ask for much more from a black metal album, and it puts it all together with familiar pieces.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a digital copy here, a CD copy here and LP copy here.

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