|Ambient Black Metal
Release length: 1:09:02
Like many recordings of these styles, the audio quality is not the greatest, but it’s also far from a truly raw production. The overall volume is definitely a lot lower in comparison, which allows the atmosphere to be set and played upon for an Ambient experience. The guitars have a slightly muffled sharpness to them, which match the general levels of the entire drum kit. The bass kicks have a subtle thud you can pick up on amid the higher pitched snares and surprisinly clear cymbals that are a little louder than the rest. The bass can be heard as well, though just enough that it makes an impact in an eighties NWOBHM way, but a lot less vibrant. Vocally, the approach is a traditional Black Metal rhasp, but a little more on the deeper side with a nice echo that makes it sound as though it’s deep within a chamber, or lost on a less-than-hospital windy night.
With that said, the environment of Het stille lied van de mann isn’t as strong as you would like, but the music does make up for it. This is also cut up into two different albums, though the promo that was sent had all five songs on a vinyl artwork CD-R. The first finds four tracks titled with the respective Roman numerals (“I” – “IV”), many of which push towards, or well past the ten minute mark. “I” takes a long while to build, and if you’re listening to it, as well as the others on a lower volume level, you may think that it’s nothing but silence. The song starts out slow and thin, but as it gradually builds, the guitar picks up a richer quality, and there’s a decent amount of variety found throughout to keep the seventeen plus minute song enjoyable, such as the sudden stop of music around the eight minute mark that ushers in some whispering, as well as soft, soothing guitar chords that play behind a sample of rain falling. Eventually the atmosphere and speed picks back up, and you’ll find yourself bobbing your head along, moreso when the drums bring in some booming notes that give it a slight epic sensation for a very brief time.
Obviously the two longest tracks have a good deal of variety to them, and also have the longest start times. “III” carries a good deal of what makes “I” stand out, but also has a bit of a Gothic/Operatic atmosphere behind it thanks to some of the additional keyboards, as if listening to a musical score to a Hollywood film, but not directly pirated from one. It actually takes a long while before the vocals even kick in, allowing the environment to really build itself and make it worthwhile when everything finally hits the point you’ve been waiting for. Sadly, this sort of foundation doesn’t exist on “II” and “IV,” though both are still enjoyable efforts that are more of a stricter Black Metal stance.
The final song is apparently on the second disc, the title track “Het stille lied van de maan.” It’s an Ambient piece that carries the musical score concept similar to “III” for much of the recording. As you get further in, it does take on some more nature-driven effects, but often a little distorted, such as a muffled sound of water in a flowing stream. There are some somber guitar chords played here and there, but much of it ends up being heavily keyboard driven. While not a genuinely instrumental piece, there’s no denying that was the goal. Around the four minute mark there is some narration and the sounds of a man walking, which also appeared during “I,” which is met with some chanting around the ten minute mark. As the song is a little over nineteen minutes, it needs to be impressive. While it is enjoyable, you can’t help but begin to loose sight of the atmosphere by the ten minute mark.
Het stille lied van de mann isn’t the greatest example of Ambient Black Metal, or even of Ambience in general, but for the most part it’s still a strong offering. “I” through “IV” have their own reasons as to why the listener should stick around, though the longer songs do truly offer more to build tension and atmosphere from the very start. Unfortunately, the title track from the second disc isn’t the most inspiring for its style. There’s a decent amount of promise from Folkstorm found on this recording, but there’s no denying it could have been better, especially on the title track.
Physical review copy of this release provided by Folkstorm.