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Kjeld – Skym (Hammerheart Records, 2015)

Once more I turn to the Dutch black metal scene. Last year its offerings were top notch. This year’s “De Oogst”ep (by Uitzichtloos) is pretty good, Pyriphlegethon’s debut is out and waiting, while Kjeld‘s first full-length, “Skym”, drew my attention past week. When I found out about this band, I didn’t check its country of origin; due to its name, the cover of the album, and most importantly due to its music, I considered Kjeld a Norwegian or Swedish band. It is a fact that those Dutch are building upon the corpus of second wave Norwegian black metal, using the tools of this black metal sub-genre exclusively. Although they flirt with imitation syndromes, it would be unfair to label them as another «blind-worship» band.

First things first: “Skym” reveals 3 band members with very good chemistry, the kind of which is usually forged after years of bonding. The fact that this is the band’s debut (with only a 2010 demo adding up to their discography) is quite striking. But the truth is that the 3 members also participate together in other bands, thus explaining their quite tight musical bond.

Stepping onto the music part: “Skym” is a work of art paying (conscious or unconscious – doesn’t really matter) tribute to the high ends of “Norsk Svart Metall”, and especially to the naturalistic tendencies within it. Here lie Kampfar’s mountain soul, Gehenna’s majestic march, and (first 2 albums’) Gorgoroth’s wandering ritual. Riff-wise, the band crafts with elegance and diversity, alas imbuing their palette with some (few to be honest) groovy moments which are reminiscent of some 00’s less-than-interesting Scandinavian bands (late Taake period for one). Still, the composition nucleus ticks fine, almost never relinquishing its hold on the listener’s interest. Attention: The composition style is not ground breaking, nor does it reek with originality, but nevertheless it manages to convey a glimpse into the 90’s. The fact that the album is not over-produced is a considerable factor to its effectiveness.

“Skym” is quite addictive to those of us that feel most at ease with the “good old black metal” part of our collection. It shines due to its staying close to the core of the 90’s sound, yet never blatantly mimicking its idols of worship. An overtly enjoyable album, “Skym” reminded me of Tsjuder’s “Desert Northern Hell” as far as the appearance of similar feelings after hearing it is concerned. Finally: Exquisite album cover, primitive and impressionistic, close to Kittelsen’s spirit.

11 Mar 2015

Tags: black metal   netherlands   2012
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