17 May 2021 - Pat O'
Sludge/Doom/post metal | Release date: 23 May 2021
Aufhebung give us a sound that’s reflective of a world in decay. Beauty lies within the chaos. Check out Lament, the debut release from these Belgian purveyors of doom and gloom
Belgium’s Aufhebung caught my attention a few weeks ago when I heard a clip of the track Lament on Bandcamp. It was a downbeat, slow paced number that oozed torment and melancholia, but at the same time, it had some rich guitar picking and strumming that gave it another dimension. At seventeen minutes long, I didn’t even wait for the track to end, and instantly reached out to the writer and guitarist Simon Neskens to see if I could get my hands on the album and review it for Veil of Sound. Aufhebung’s love for their music was evident from the off. The quality in their debut release makes it more than worthy of a review and most definitely needs to be heard by anyone who likes, and I quote the band… “Slow sludgy riffs and frantic screeching guitars, melancholic harmonies and dissonant droning”. There you have it, I couldn’t have worded it better myself!
The first track on the album, Iblis starts with some mellow tremolo guitaring that has an almost Spanish feel or even a western style that wouldn’t look out of place in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Its cinematic persona creates space and expanse like the opening scene of a movie. But this is dark brooding “post metal” after all, so it’s not long before the stage is torn in half by a sludge sodden riff that slowly lumbers along and cuts through the scene with its blackened tongue. The music becomes very shady and melodic with the ever-changing pace and tone, all accompanied by the understated synths that keep things sounding gritty and overcast. There are a few noises added to the tracks such as short bellowed releases of pressure, and the dull clunk of steel that creates something different and an almost industrial vibe. On top of that you have some lead guitars that add yet another layer to proceedings. Midway through the track, the music breaks down to a sombre and solo bass line that plods along before being joined by more tremolo picking and screeching reverbed guitars. It’s a really interesting piece of music, that’s not easy to pin down or label, but very well executed.
“Chasms” continues with the slow pace and distorted chords that rumble and fade. Dual guitars pick up the pace ever so slightly, giving the listener a sense of impending doom and Armageddon. Old school Black Sabbath like riffs chug and groove a passageway, while the drums pound and crash a not so merry tune. This is slow-motion, headbanging music right here, and can be at times uplifting in what is in essence, an opaque and grimly descriptive album. The track concludes with a surge of heavy riffs and power until it’s abrupt end.
On ne parle pas de corde dans la maison du pendu, which I think translates to We’re not talking about rope in the hangman’s house is a mellow acoustic piece hidden quietly amidst the sludge and mire and acts as an opener for the final, epic track that is “Lament”. More passages of light and dark collide, with reverb and delay casting a bleak and desolate shadow. It’s not an easy task to play music at this pace and keep the listeners attention, but the atmosphere these guys have created puts you right in the thick of it all and makes you a part of the show. You’re embroiled in the malaise and need to plough your way through to the other side. At the eleventh hour, (or eleventh minute on this track!) hope of a way out is led by a stomping riff and more dual grandeur. The chords echo and reverberate through your chest, while you’re led to the exit with swirling solo guitars and pounding drums. A great climatic finish to a very impressive debut release.
This album is due to be released on 23rd May, so I hope you all head over to Bandcamp and give it some support. I’m delighted I took a shot at this album, and I’m even more delighted for Aufhebung. It’s a well-polished and well produced debut album that will sit very favourably with lovers of post metal, sludge, doom and at times industrial metal. Lament is a bleak and sepulchral album that will continue to smother and envelop you. Even on my first full listen, I was able to envisage these guys nestled neatly within the Dunk records ranks. Their sound can at times jump from the heaviness of Astodan to the abstract sounds of Bolt, so they would be in very good company. I honestly believe they have the talent to be able to think this big. Oh, and add to the fact that they’re a local band…so who knows!