On May 21st of 2015, fellow Heavy Blog staffer Matt and I ran a set of Rapidfire reviews: he wrote two, one on the new album from OSDM act Entrails, and one on Swedish death metal group Gutter Instinct‘s new EP. Sandwiched between them was my review of Wiegedood‘s first album, De Doden Hebben het Goed. To reiterate what I said so many moons ago, Wiegedood is a decent black metal band for sure, albeit one too focused at the time on hitting all the right boxes for the atmospheric black metal genre listing, and losing themselves in the process. Of course, being the optimist I am, I tacked on a hope for the future: “If the band chooses to trim down and focus on the aggression… their next album could be an absolute doozy of a record.”
Now, I’m not gonna say that they read my review and took my advice to heart after realizing this was, in fact, exactly what they needed to really excel, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that they did what I said they should and are certainly better off for it. Consequently, I’m happy to report, De Doden II fucking rips. This is heart-pounding, blood pumping, dynamic, muscular back metal, all function and no form, four tracks of absolute aural catastrophe that leave barely any time to catch one’s breath or reconsider the maelstrom of riffage surrounding the listener and pummeling them from all sides.
From the first moments of “Ontzielling,” it’s clear what the audience is getting into: here there be crunchy guitars, tremolo riffs, and blast beats. The winds come from all around and form into an immediate storm of sound; the first two minutes and change are fast, furious, and astounding. At about 2:45, though, there’s a brief pause before what might be one of the best black metal melodies we see on this Earth all year, and it’s at exactly this point that the realization comes in: Wiegedood is absolutely not fucking around. De Doden II is vicious. Wiegedood have perfected the formula of violent-and-visceral-yet-still-atmospheric black metal they flirted with on the first record, resulting in a sound that is equal parts leaner and meaner than it was before. Of course, they haven’t totally abandoned the traditions of their genre, and “Cataract” shows that while this trio may have trimmed the fat, they can still tackle the task of 10+ minute songs. By no means is “Cataract” a slow burn, though, or anything even approaching pensive: to the Wiegedood of 2017, longer songs just means more time to rip the listener to shreds with bone-crunching riffs, and that’s exactly what it should mean. These guys operate best when they’re at their most ferocious, and De Doden II has them firing on all cylinders for pretty much the whole damn length of the record.
We’ve talked at length here on the blog about the problems of albums beyond the first and how bands that grasped for greatness but couldn’t quite reach it the first time around should be very, very careful not to squander subsequent tries. De Doden Hebben het Goed II is a phenomenal example of a band doing a sophomore album right. Just short of half an hour of absolute, all-encompassing carnage, Wiegedood have become the black metal force they ought to be, and their move towards aggression is paying off in spades here. Look out, world. Something wicked this way comes.
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Wiegedood are releasing De Doden Hebben het Goed II via Consouling Sounds on this Saturday, February 4th.