Wiegedood is a black metal outfit from Belgium that has surged in popularity through the ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’ trilogy, receiving much acclaim from music fans and critics all over the world. Being linked to the renown Church of Ra collective, that’s really not that big of a surprise since that’s often a stamp of quality and innovative musical thinking. Now that they have wrapped up that trilogy, they’re ready to start the next chapter of their journey and from the singles and chat we had with vocalist Levy (read here), it has become clear that means breaking the mold of how they were doing things before. And here it is then: ‘There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road’.
When the album kicks off with ‘FN SCAR 16’ you immediately have to get to grips how much they’ve decided to go outside the (often atmospheric) black metal sound we’ve gotten used to on the past releases. It pummels you with relentless high speed drums, a constantly repeated uneasy-making riff and absolutely rabid screams. They really did not hold back one bit, bringing a sound that is all too reminiscent of the machine gun they got inspired by for the title. Get ready to be left behind rather dumbstruck by the end of this 4 minute track. With ‘And In Old Salamano’s Room, The Dog Whimpered Softly’ they continue the unforgiving speed, sound and at times utter chaos of vitriol and seemingly hatred. About a minute and a half in the music suddenly stops to make place for a drop to a more mid tempo speed, frantic high-pitched screams and at some point haunting samples from real field recordings of a beggar in Paris. A first taste of how challenging and uncomfortable these guys have made their music this time around.
‘Noblesse Oblige Richesse Oblige‘ continues with the sheer aggression and speed of earlier with a sound that many Scandinavian black metal bands would be jealous of. ‘Until It Is Not’ is the first track where we can recognize some of the more traditional black metal melodies and while it’s still a very extreme track due to the almost barked vocals, compared to what we got before you could almost call this catchy. Until at the mark of about 5 minutes when it suddenly switches into some ominous sampling that brings back a feeling of unease. Which is a rather great segue into the longest track of the album ‘Now Will Always Be‘, that starts off with the first really atmospheric part. To be honest, this is the track that gets the closest to the sound we know them for from ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed‘ with repetitive trance-inducing music and the throat-singing we’ve heard before on older tracks. Being the midway track, a great moment of clarity and serenity (if you can call it that) that sort of ties the old Wiegedood together with the new Wiegedood. It has that atmospheric touch, but at the same time they masterfully interwoven some of the chaos from earlier on the album and a layer of unease that is somehow still there despite the beauty of the used melodies and riffs. ‘Nuages‘ is another example of the different direction Wiegedood has taken its music and it being the first single, it really confused a lot of people. The sheer chaos and aggression that comes back in this track makes it almost difficult to sit through the track, but since this is what they wanted to accomplish with their music this time around, I’d say it’s a great success.
‘Theft And Beginning’ brings back that punishing old school Swedish black metal sound in the veins of Marduk and even a touch of the typical icy melodies that you find in much of the genre. And just when you think you’ve gotten to the worse, they still throw ‘Carousel‘ at you. With again its repetitive and unnerving riffs, they manage to create another track that gets under your skin but at the same time mesmerizes. Add to that the return of the throat-singing and you really amp the creep factor up, while getting closer to the end the more frantic and unnerving it seems to be getting, leaving you with a feeling you can’t shake off all that easily.
While I always appreciated Wiegedood‘s music, with ‘There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road‘ they really carved out a special spot for themselves in the firmaments of the black metal genre. Being freed from the formula of their ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed‘ trilogy, they really went above and beyond, creating a masterpiece of aggression, unease, discomfort and unbridled chaos. The complexity and speed of the tracks with the filter of haunting and downright creepy samples makes for a compelling and challenging piece of music. I’ll be looking forward to see how they manage to translate this new found sound and atmosphere building to a live setting.
Release date: January 14, 2022
Label: Century Media
- FN SCAR 16
- And In Old Salamano’s Room, The Dog Wimpered Softly
- Noblesse Oblige Richesse Oblige
- Until It Is Not
- Now Will Always Be
- Theft And Begging