Following the well-received first album “Skym”, released in 2015, the Dutch melodic black metal quintet Kjeld returns with their second full-length “Ôfstân” released via Heidens Hart Records. Since its inception, Kjeld captured the uniqueness of the Frisian language, a Germanic language most closely to English. “Ôfstân” was written and concluded during the years of 2017-2019, while all three phases somehow re-shaped the latest material, resulting in mature songwriting. The approach is noteworthy for its melodic orientation and aggression. Kjeld would implement high standards and musicianship to improve the quality of their trademark sound. The new line-up comprises Skier on vocals, Swerc on bass guitar, Fjildslach on drums, Tsjuster, and Bile on guitars.
The opening track “Betsjoend” takes possession of the appealing melodies of the second wave black metal and for this reason, the band re-defines their craft concisely. The transitions from mid-paced tempo to blast beats are rather smooth with the tremolo effects of the guitars emitting darker overtones. For those who like melodic black metal with keyboards, be rest assured because the Dutchmen delivers something much darker than the first album. The songs on the album refer to ancient Frisian myths and sagas which reveals the fascination of keeping this identity recognized. Although the heaviness of the guitars is carried out by the fast and furious drumming there is so much passion within the melodies.
Tracks such as “De Iensume winder” and “Wylde rixt” have that sinister tone combined with raw black metal while the other tracks features some catchy synth passages. The music draws inspiration from German black metal bands like Dark Fortress, the vocal tone is frenziedly sinister but when the keyboards are employed, they sound very atmospheric. “Ôfstân” is a fast-paced album filled with excellent guitar riffage. However, some of the most enticing features are the creative use of the rhythm guitars. The songs follow in the same formula where the guitars offer many slow tempos and they’re full of hooks. The album title is a standout track that begins with a furious pace of the drums while the creative composition of the guitars adds a magical feel midway through the song.
There are nuances to symphonic black metal including the charged swirls of the guitar riffs and this what makes their music so unique and unpredictable. The hymnal approach of the vocals on “Asbran” is the icing on the cake, again the tremolo effects create these memorable moments. The crafty output of the framework lays within extracting the elements of the nineties black metal. “Wite fokel” includes a spacious range for the atmospherics to shine whereas the melodies are beautifully layered. The instrumental sections along with the Burzum-esque style of keyboards are mesmeric and produce various patterns of sound. Each track varies from slow melodic proportions to outstanding rhythm technique.
“Falske doop” is an excellent mixture of the modern style of riffing versus the post-nineties black metal. The catchy, melodic, and versatile riffs are brought up right to your face, Kjeld is a splendorous album that is fronted by powerful vocal performance. In every aspect of this sophomore, you’ll encounter some of the most effective dynamics. While the first half of the album started intensely the second half seems to be balanced between the atmosphere and melodies. Other tracks like “Skaad” and the album closure “Konfrontaasje” present an intense musical quality from the Dutchmen. By covering the straightforward aggression, Kjeld takes the melodic method of the post-nineties second wave to building up the songs. “Ôfstân” is far from an average black metal album and I highly recommend this album to fans of pagan black metal.
Release Date: February 15th, 2021
Label: Heidens Hart Records
- De Iensume winder
- Wylde rixt
- Wite fokel
- Falske doop