I’m not overly familiar with Dutch black metal duo Fluisteraars, (“dreamers”)  as Bloem is my first real exposure to the band, even though it’s their 3rd album. Their 2014 debut, Dromers was reviewed in these pages, and that’s where I started my research and decided to give album number three a go. I’ve since promptly purchased both Dromers and the 2nd album, 2015s Luwte.

Don’t let that flowery cover fool you. This is good stuff, slightly off the cuff black metal with influences ranging from avant-garde ground breakers Fleurety to more direct, black melodic metal realms like Taake. and dreamier, softer, show-gazier realms like Alcest . It’s melodic, it’s slightly experimental (there’s some programming and a trumpet/trombone here and there), it’s lushly produced, it’s sexy, and more importantly it’s memorable, with many of the strumming dual inter-weaved guitars worming there way into your psyche instantly. Some of these riffs remind me of Vallendusk’s sublime melodies.

Opener “Tere Muur” starts the album with an intoxicating, catchy black metal tremolo picked jaunt, that’s instantly foot/ finger tapping worthy and later on, that delicately throbbing bass line instantly recalls Fleurety’s Mid Tid Skal Komme.  Second track “Nasleep” comes out of the gates with a more pure frosty, Taake sounding riff, but then starts to take a more avant garde tangent, with a sexy Furia – like swagger and then a chaotic trumpet section that’s a bit jarring, but short lived, before it takes a more lulling, dreamy gait to close out.

“Eeuwige ram” is the album’s weakest track, as it’s 6 minutes of a slower, mid paced, dreamy, hypnotic sway, which the band usually excels at, but that’s all it does. Whereas the other tracks mix in some black metal extremity.And with  partly sung/shouted vocals as opposed to the more widely used black metal rasp, its a bit of a downer.  Certainly a nice mid album respite, but not on par with the rest of the material. And speaking of the album’s excellent other material, “Vlek”, comes right after and delivers a blistering melodic salvo that might be the albums arguable standout, and another black metal sway that’s  sultry as all get out. Then there’s a little acoustic bridge and sway that’s alluring as hell, but still black metal. These guys are master of that jazzy waltzy riff, that gets you moving. Closer “Maanruïne” is the album’s other possible standout mixing the two things they do best (melodic black metal and smooth mid paced lulls)  , with yet another  evocative trumpet section and some enigmatic choirs.

With only 6 songs averaging 5-7 minutes, Bloem is a surprisingly brisk affair that’s over before you know. Which is a shame, as this is one of those albums you actually want to be an hour or so, it’s so engaging and dreamy, certainly a little more than the prior efforts (especially in the production), but manages to retain a sharp, black metal sheen to boot.

It’s only February, and 2 black metal releases have blow me away (Marrasmieli’s Between Land and Sky is the other one). Lets see what the rest of 2020 can bring as the bar has been set pretty high.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 24th, 2020


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