Kjeld
Ôfstân

It’s been 5 years since Dutch black metal act Kjeld (helmet? cauldron?) released the excellent Skym (though I heard it a couple of years after the release), and the band has spent their time sharpening their razor sharp form of melodic second wave black metal with a few EPs and splits in that time, and its proven a worthwhile wait as Ôfstân is a killer, better follow up.

Continuing the band’s triumphantly “Fresian” delivery that’s firmly rooted in the likes of Taake, Immortal and other Scandinavian luminaries, Ôfstân sees a cleaner crisper production, and increase in melody and even a few subtle Emperor/And Oceans ish keyboards here and there than make for a stunning exercise in modern, but classic sounding black metal, and one of the young year’s best black metal albums.

From opener “Betsjoend” to closer “Konfrontaasje”, there isn’t a weak song amid the albums 55 minute, 9 song run time, a rare feat. Every bristling, tremolo picked riff drips with a perfect blend of frosty, teeth baring menace and searing melodies. In particular, the title track has not one, but 2 utterly perfect black metal riffs- and I mean fucking perfect, the type of riff you show people to explain what black metal is. Also the more ‘post’ black metal “Asbran” delivers another standout set of riffs, making for a mid album one-two punch that’s simply outstanding.

The high bar set by the album’s mid point is hard to reach, but the following songs are no chopped liver, with the likes of “Wite Fokel” and its more controlled, tumbling Arcturus-ian gait, and the short, slow acoustic build of “Falske Doop”, which then delivers yet another perfect black metal riff and some out of nowhere Árstíðir lífsins-like baritone vocals.

“Skaad” has a bit of a …And Oceans vibe, especially in the synth tone, but yet more magnificent riffage (and more of those baritone vocals), and closer “Konfrontaasje” ends the album suddenly, but you know you’ve listened to a really good record from start to finish and Ôfstân is a really, really good record. In fact, the best Dutch black metal record I’ve heard since Walpurgisnacht’s Die derwaert gaen en keeren niet way back in 2005.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 19th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Erik-this is a great review and nice mention about the post black metal moments. I really enjoy this album and their debut album is great, but this one is even better.


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