Thursday, February 23, 2017

Album Revew: "Het Gebeente" by Ande

I  have recently been involved in recording of a one man black metal band.  Not from the creative side, although hopefully this will be the case in the near future, but strictly from the prespective of providing the necessary recording equipment and operating Garageband.  It has been really fun to watch the creative genius of the musician I am recording as he builds black metal majesty right before my eyes.  Although my wife is not entirely pleased with the demonic shrieks emanating from the basement, the experience has granted me a new prespective and appreciation for how a band such as Ande might have created such an album.

Ande is also a one man black metal band hailing from Belgium. The album title, as illustrated by the brilliant cover art, translates to "The Bones".  Ande is clearly well versed in the history of black metal, as the album serves as a journey through the sonic history of the genre.  The band's vision, as filtered through the mind of its lone creator, is clear, concise and dark.  

The intro track is a haunting piano melody, almost a funeral dirge, which serves as a gateway to the brutality which follows.   

The second song "Argwaan" (Suspicion) is full tilt black metal with all the glorious tremolo runs, blast beats and demonic growls the genre is known for.  This is followed by "Gebukt" (Weighed) contains a groove and pace which could be described as blackened stoner metal.  Although the music is in stark contrast to the previous track, the vocals are similar in style and cadence. "Oud en Vet" (Old and Fat) also has a melodic element to it, which again highlights Ande's skill in song structure.

This beautiful black cat seems to be the mascot of Ande
"Leeg" (Empty) is a triumphant return to a traditional Norwegian black metal sound, featuring a full blazes tremolo introduction which gives an alternating chord passage.  Blast beats are absent for the first two minutes of "Leeg" before briefly appearing with an aggressive vengeance, and then disappearing as the tune melts into a slow atmospheric interlude.  Finally the track concludes with an epic fury .  "Leeg" reminded me of a Burzum song, with similar claims to being a masterpiece.

The album closes with "Uittrede" (Exit), which is strictly a synthesizer track.  Although I missed the guitars, drums and vocal, I understand Ande intended the track as a capstone to the introduction.  It releases the listener with tones which are similarly calm and spooky.

This was the first black metal I had listened to since participating, albeit peripherally, in creation of this wonderful and misunderstood music.  I was able to visualize the process which must have gone into building these songs, and truly enjoyed this album for its uncompromising focus and intensity.  "Het Gebeente" deserves a place in the pantheon of black metal.

Genre:  Atmospheric Black Metal
Release:  February 7, 2017
Label:  Self Released


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