21 Aug 2021 - Thorsten
Black Metal, Dark Folk | Eisenwald | Release date: 27 Aug 2021
Never one to shy away from being productive, Dutch Black Metal masters Fluisteraars are back again (nearly) exactly eighteen months after the release of one of Black Metal’s most acclaimed albums of 2020. This time they release nothing less than one of the records of the year. Again. This level of productivity and quality is astonishing. Welcome Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking!
Where last year’s Bloem (check out our review on it) was a sinister love potion brewed from equal measures of Black Metal and Dark Folk, this one is more a crossover between classic Black Metal and Krautrock. Therefore this is less Woven Hand and more Tangerine Dream, which might be taken as a good point of reference when taking a closer look at the three songs and 35 minutes. This is something that the band by now is famous for – only a few songs on each album but all of them exceeding the 30-minute-barrier easily, just like Gegrepen Door… does, too. For all those who do not remember what might be meant with calling the last album Dark – listen to the fourth track on Bloem and the moment at 3:00 minutes, when ”Vlek” goes from a calm break in the close watch of the oncoming storm to an observation of the single lyre-player on the beach and then after roughly 25 seconds combines both with a perfectly mixed near-shanty-like part that is the basis for the rest of the song. One of those magic moments in metal history!
On Gegrepen Door… you can find similarly impressive moments, especially within the last track, but more on that opus magnum later. The first two tracks follow a similar structure by first exploding right in front of us and then later deconstructing the hurricane. That is something both records share – the deconstructing of aggression and slowly regressing into a calmer analysis of the problem ahead. This magical movements also has to do with the guitar work by Mink Koops, because he is able to weave a guitar carpet so dense that is seems to be more of an ambient synthesizer sphere and by adding only small adjustments to the riffs showing their Black Metal origins. He can move these underlying spheres up and down at his own will and whenever needed he goes into “blast-mode” and throws punches out of the storm raging around us. When the opening track and single ”Het Overvleugelen Der Meute” does the exact same movement after six minutes by pushing the part-tribal, part-medieval inspired drums into the foreground for a moment, one shouldn’t be surprised. However, this level of craftsmanship, of musical mastery is simply breathtaking and continues when (after 6:30 minutes) Koops throws in some short sharp guitar parts which breathe the conciseness of Tangerine Dream and the drones of Sunn O))) – transcending everything for a moment until… the initial burst of the second track “Brand Woedt In Mijn Graf” pulls us back out of our trance and into real life. Even in this track we have some wonderful vocals by Bob Mollema in the background hidden in the mix (at roughly 1:15 minutes) and it’s these little details that make this record so jaw-dropping. Amid the perils of repeating themselves (as a Black Metal band usually does), Fluisteraars is able to detail their songs in so many ways that you need a lot of time to take it all in. The ending is another gloomy example as the guitar meanders away and takes its time while some string-resembling sounds set in and accompany the track to its final rest.
And then the longest track in the history of Fluisteraars starts, ”Verscheuring in de Schemering”. Interestingly, the blueprint of the first two songs isn’t applied here as it is a much freely floating form. It is really remarkable how well the different parts of the song connect with each other – sometimes with the help of a bit of reverb as at around 6:30 or with some short silence between parts, for example at the middle of the track when the track is transformed into a very Free Jazz thing only to again transcend that form back into full-force flight! This song delivers so many twists and turns – and each part is played out to its fullest. An epic like only Fluisteraars can deliver it right to our doorstep.
The Gelderland duo is one of these bands who have developed their own sound, their own way of writing and structuring songs and their own way of working. Their work ethos is beyond adoration for with every release they show another small detail of advancement in their craft and therefore only one thing remains to be said: Gegrepen Door… should be on every Black Metal-fan’s AOTY – list for 2021!