Kjeld and Wederganger are European black metal masters for the ages. Their latest split represents a potent pairing and his at what these two bands are capable of. Both groups have long had my heart so getting a chance to listen to these black metal merchants on opposite sides of the same 12 inches of wax is of course a pleasure. In 2016 it often felt like atavistic black metal had started to fall by the wayside and that bands who looked back in honor of times forgot had been passed by in favor of the groups who hint at a modern pain. This split takes the liberty of dragging us right back.
The record is kicked of by Kjeld, whose unique brand of black metal, inspired by their native Frisia sounds utterly huge. Kjeld are the sort of band who have that forward stomp few can truly match. They understand the power of old school orthodox black metal and yet their compositions seem cemented in firmly 2016 ideas. They are forward thinking and crafting masterful works but unafraid to hail the past. I feel similarly about Wederganger, who kick off their side of things with a surprisingly groovy, dare I say, bluesy riff before falling into the black metal that they have loved for long now. There is something strangely reassuring about their powerful clean vocals and the driving magic of their pure riffage.
Splits like these are a huge part of what I love about black metal. They provide an opportunity to sit back and revel in a music that many of us fell in love with years ago. It showcases bands who fall into the same rather limited spectrum and reminds us that the community found in this sort of music should come before all else. It's easy to fall into this split and it's impressive to me how many solid ass releases Van Records has been able to put together recently - and it feels like this one may be among the best.
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