Tag Archives: Tarnkappe

New Wave of Dutch Black Metal Part 2

The New Wave of Dutch Black Metal was coined by Never Mind The Hype and I was amazed by the sudden realization that we have so many good bands in the Netherlands.

This is my attempt to give you an overview of the amount of stunning bands that the Netherlands has to offer, but there is more in part 1.  I have to say though, the more I’m looking into it, the more I seem to find!

Black metal fury with Cirith Gorgor, Tarnkappe and Turia

Some bands stick to the fierce sound that characterizes the original outlets of black metal. Almost unrecognizably mutated from the Venom-roots, the sound is furious, overwhelming and battle-ready. These bands to my experience hold the fort, while adding distinct own aspects to it.

On their last album, ‘Visions of Exalted Lucifer’, the band Cirith Gorgor pretty much showed that they are one of the most esteemed black metal bands from the Netherlands, producing a sound very close in praise of the traditinol, thunderous black metal from the nineties. Their latest offering is an EP titled ‘Bi Den Dode Hant’,  a reference to the infamous ‘Bokkenrijders’ from my parts of the world in the older days. Their four track EP has two absolute gems on it, but also one of the songs from the previous album. Bummer, because I knew it already. On ‘The Luciferian Principle’ we actually get a bit of a weird atmospheric outro, which is pretty cool. It’s the title track though that completely takes the cake here, a blistering surge of hatred. A continuous abyssal assault, lead by singer Sathanael and the vicious guitar assault.

Tarnkappe was featured earlier on my blog, but this band really fits in that traditional black metal framework. Maybe a bit towards the natura-inspired sound, but the artwork and vibe is staying close to the core. The band name means something akin to ‘Wizard’s hat’ in the old tongue of these lands. Looking at the cover and the landscape depicted there, you might easily link this band to a Burzum, but their sound is much less hazy and dreamy, filled with repetition and firm waves of guitar sounds. The vocals really speak to the listener in my opinion.

When it comes to unleashing minimalist fury, the band Turia needs to be mentioned here. I’ve seen them play at Roadburn as a three piece act and there is just something completely desparate about their flow of misery that takes you to the vast desolation that only black metal can evoke. Their album ‘Dede Konde’ is a steady swirl into darkness and well worth listening to. Every sound on this record is measured, directed and controlled to evoke the maximum of feelings from the listener.

Outsider music with Iskandr, Kjeld, Folteraar and Fluisteraars

Black metal is an expression of the individual, of that which makes us distinct from others. These groups clearly have found a way to give shape to their own identity and place in the world, wether it is with language or other elements.

There are some bands that I find hard to place, though everything above is done on an overall feeling and emotion it evokes with me as a listener. A band I find harder to really put somewhere, but would not want to set apart is Iskandr, which hails from the Nijmegen area like Turia. Iskandr feels much more atmospheric, almost filmic in the tragic, impressive melodies the band uses on their album ‘Heilig Land’. Iskandr is also a one man band, with just O making the music, which is something you can sort of hear in the focussed stream of energy in the music. O also plays in Turia, Lubbert Das and Galg, some pretty great bands. The sound is so immensely tragic and harrowing, I love it.

The Netherlands has a second language, which you may or may not know, namely Frisian. One of the best bands to come out of the wood work in recent years happens to sing in that language and that band is Kjeld, who truly hit a high note on their album ‘Skym’ from back in 2015. The production of this band sounds a bit cleaner and more focussed, but remains firmly rooted in the Northern tradition. The musicianship is one of the claims to fame from this group  of four with much experience in other ensembles (like Asregen, Krocht, Kaeck, Gheestenland and many more).  Though the band has been in existence since 2003, the last few years saw them at their most productive, releasing a split with Wederganger recently.

Folteraar is another gritty project of excellent noisy, fierce black metal. It seems that this duo leans towards a bit of an industrial approach to the musical expression. With a thick layer of distortion and a gritty sound with low paced rhythms and grim barks this is some intense stuff. It seems there’s even a mild death metal influence to create the severely intense sound this duo produces. Originally the releases came out on an own label of bandmember K., namely ‘The Throat’, but now Iron Bonehead has picked up on this excellent band.

Folteraar is not for the fans of catchy melodic or atmospheric black metal, their sound is harsh, repetitive and ugly. The delivery is excellent though, offering a rather different take on the genre.

From there on, we move to Fluisteraars, who’ve done a magnificent job on their EP ‘Gelderland’ to create black metal that sometimes almost feels like indie rock. That’s how streamlined the riffs are, with a strange, playful melody in there. I wouldn’t go so far as calling them a gentle sounding band, but the strength of Fluisteraars is the use of melody and catchy hooks, while remaining loyal to the grim and black sounds. The 7″ is out on Eisenwald Tonschmiede in Germany, a label that knows how to deal with the narrative, gripping sound of bands like Agalloch. Fluisteraars fits in there somehow, though they can also unleash hell if they need to.

Into the underworld with Lubbert Das and Wederganger

Two more names that have a sound that is particularly haunting to round up this second installment, two names that are definitely worth checking out.

Lubbert Das is an odd reference to the work of Jheronymous Bosch, in which we find a painting, titled “Cutting the stone’. A text surrounds the painting in golden letters, saying: “Master cut away the stone, my name is Lubbert Das”. So, there the band found their name and a logo. The sound of these guys is really a lot of doom and gloom, with long, repetitive passages. The cavernous sounding guitarplay and drums really makes you feel that the sound is all submerged, under the earth’s crust where madness reigns. Tumultuous and unrelenting, this is some bad ass black metal.

Born out of some of the best bands in the more Folky corner that the Netherlands have on offer, namely Mondvolland, Heidevolk and more, Wederganger is one hell of an outfit. They combine theatrical swagger with dark, gloomy black metal. Clean vocals and ghoulish barks and howls work in concert to create a special eerie atmosphere. Wederganger translates as ‘one who walks again’, and their debut album is titled ‘Halfvergaan ontwaakt’ (‘Half decayed, awakened). After the succesful release of that album and numerous really cool live shows, the band has unleashed splits with LasterKjeld and Urfaust. This group definitely is part of the elite of the dutch black metal scene witgh a well thought out act.



Underground Sounds: Tarnkappe – Winterwaker

Label: Hammerheart Records
Band: Tarnkappe
Origin: Netherlands

Black metal as a genre has been wildly progressive in the last few years and though some say it burned out, the embers are being fanned into new flames again. Nonetheless, there are those bands who bring you back to the essence of the genre. Tarnkappe is one of those and they do it very, very well on this second full length by the northerners.

With members in their ranks from bands like Gheestenland, Krocht, Asregen and Kjeld, you sure have some quality. The word Tarnkappe comes from a German word for a magic cloak. Pretty cool huh? Also pretty cool is the black and white album cover, the menacing Teutonic font and overall classic black metal feel. It’s a bit like back to the Darkthrone days of yore, when black metal was simple and evil.

That grim and frosty sound is definitely present in the ever continuing blast beats and static riffing. Tarnkappe rarely aims to show of their musical prowess, but works industrious on a continuous tapestry of thick woven riffs and beats into e freezing blanket of sound. On ‘ Aan De Aarde Gebonden’ we even get some of that black metal swing, with those evil sounding riffs and lingering passages giving room for the vocals. It’s really the feeling of the nineties that the band evokes on this amazing record. A continuous, grim sounding rain of sound with some very well placed atmospheric parts. I suppose a bit like the second wave of bands from the Norwegian scene like Gorgoroth. A sound much more measured and condensed.

The record seems to be misunderstood at times by reviewers, seeing the cohesive, tight record as a bit too controlled and organized. I think that’s exactly where it draws its strength from. With nature as an overlying theme, that natural order and harmony is translated into the music giving it a controlled and managed sound. It’s a different sort of order, but much more beautiful. This is what makes them stand out so much. There’s a majesty without glamour or shine to the sound. which is the way nature is considered beautiful. ‘Kale vlakten, desolatie’ is perhaps the most exemplifying song of that, with slow, thick riffs. A bit of an Enslaved-like grandeur in the heavy, sludgy sound even. This is black metal the way you love it and want it.