Originally written by Erik Thomas.
I gotta tell you, I may not be a black metal expert or aficionado, but I can tell you one thing: This is how I like my black metal.
Grim, yet epically melodic, slightly pagan riffage, and an equally grim yet still listenable production is what highlights Holland’s Walpurgisnacht and their 2005 debut album. This thing just drips classic 1990’s Scandinavian black metal and all the bands that spearheaded that movement. I hear early Emperor, early Dimmu Borgir, early Sentenced, early Ulver, Fleurety, Abigor, Dissection, Darkthrone, Immortal–sweeping tremolo picked harmonies, often and high speed and laced with a frosty, grim yet majestic prose and slightly ‘forested’ melancholy.
It’s the riffs that make this surprisingly good (though belated) album. From the opening riff of “Vanden Doolenden Ridder” through the stunning closing riff at 5:10 of penultimate track “Duyvelsrit der Bockereyders”, (which I have to confess, might be an example of the ‘perfect’ black metal riff, as short lived as it is), Die Derwaert Gaen En Keeren Niet keeps me as entertained as any recent black metal record I’ve heard lately. The melodic yet seething chord progressions are to die for and are produced with a mindful ear of that era without being too thin or tinny. Even the more controlled moments, such as “De Dood van Kyrië”, retain a sense of classic ambience and even when really cranking things up, such as “Nachtgebroed”, it simply reeks of 1994.
Some slight orchestration starts “Mijn Dierbaer Peellant”, (tell me that staccato riff at 1:34 isn’t just pure Bergtatt era Ulver) and some chorals arise for the superb “Verlokt Is Verloren” (which I would have actually enjoyed more of) but otherwise this thing is theatrics free and its only real downside (unless you consider native tongue lyrics a downside), is each of the riffs sort of remind me of other classic bands/songs (i.e. the start of “De Kluizenaar” was a little too similar to the opening riff of Emperor’s “Into The Infinity of Thoughts” from …Nightside Eclipse), but it made the album no less enjoyable. In fact, the identifiably retro, but still modern tones make the album that much more enjoyable.
I highly recommend this album to black metal fans sick of either sugary symphonics, industrial agro or one man moping.
Now if only I could understand Dutch…