Folteraar’s Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw (Tales of a Dark Age) may prove overwhelming for the uninitiated, but those who comprehend its language will find it richly rewarding.
It’s fitting that my introduction to this band would be indulgently playing a promo for their debut album, from the indestructible Iron Bonehead Productions. If last year was any indication, two man black metal bands are in. Folteraar proudly carry the torch passed to them from Mgla, even though Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw is a much different style of black metal than Exercises in Futility.
“De mars der ondoden” (“The March of Undead”), the second track from Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw
Invisible Oranges recently debuted “Mijn verlossing” (“My Salvation”), and IO scribe Jon Rosenthal pointed out the song’s hardcore trappings buried beneath it’s oppressive atmosphere. The prolific body of work behind each musician becomes readily apparent when the album is taken in its entirety, as B. and K. have appeared in dozens of other bands! Vertellingen‘s black metal framework is bent, stretched, and shaped over the album’s twelve songs. Tremolo chords are set ablaze and buried under their own ash. Vocals are often shouted rather than shrieked. Tempos fluctuate between songs and during them, lending this album uncertainty and unpredictability as it rages forward. Vertellingen is just as menacing when it slows things to a crawl, however, on “Waan” (“Delusion”), “De vormloze chaos” (“The Formless Chaos”), and “Onzuiver” (“Impure”). These songs call to mind many of Akitsa’s slower songs, or thicker versions of Nocternity’s Harps of the Ancient Temples. Before the halfway point, by the aforementioned “Mijn verlossing”, everything goes to hell.
“Waan” (“Delusion”), the fourth track from Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw
The album’s second half is a grave endeavor. The last six tracks form an unending miasma of violent competition between the instrumentation and Vertellingen’s katamorphic atmosphere. “Onzuiver” becomes as horrifying as it is massive-sounding, reaching a sound not too far removed from the cavernous and sepulchral death metal movement of late.
Because this debut LP comes from a group with myriad releases under their belt, Folteraar’s members show their compatibility by running through a myriad of styles during Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw. The band plays black metal with hardcore trappings, black metal filtered through psychedelics, and cavernous blackened death metal for maximum bewilderment. Nothing here sounds out of place, however. Vertellingen is seamless and cohesive during its reign. Vertellingen pays homage to the spirit of the second wave masters with a captivating style entirely its own. This album sounds like it was tailor-made for Iron Bonehead Productions, and it is one of the finest black metal albums you’ll hear in 2016.
4 1/2 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Vertellingen van een donkere eeuw is due out February 26th on Iron Bonehead Productions.