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Review: Meslamtaea – Niets en niemendal

by Miloš Šebalj

Meslamtaea – Niets en niemendal

  1. Neonschemering
  2. Weer een dag
  3. Niemandsland
  4. Leegte
  5. Afgrond
  6. Slapende stad
  7. Vervreemdingszone
Label: Heidens Hart Records
Release date: February 4, 2019

It seems Black Metal has just gotten its rightful place in the Netherlands’ hierarchy. If it was alive all along, somehow it got overshadowed by the more famous Death Metal colleagues. Still, with the aging of the scene, Black Metal slowly gets its share of the spotlight. We have a chance to witness a number of bands emerge from the “netherworld”, and their quality is indisputable.

Meslamtaea is nowhere near as fresh name as it may seem. It’s just the fact that they have been fairly quiet when it comes to recordings. That being said, the band is a brainchild of one Floris Velthuis who was in charge of everything concerning Meslamtaea. “Niets en niemendal” is the second full album by this project, and the first to include a vocal contribution from Ward Theunissen of the Asgrauw fame. Furthermore, debut album was released 14 years ago, and was followed by a long silence broken only in the form of a couple of split releases. I’m going to have to rely on the official press release to claim that there was not a major shift in style, considering I haven’t heard the debut.

You might have gotten the core idea behind the music of Meslamtaea. Yes, it is Black Metal, but calling it just that would be a huge negligence. The Dutch duo does perform on the basic levels of Black Metal, preferably on the early second wave. However, their tunes carry a certain epic touch invented by the pioneers of avant-garde movement in the genre. Ulver in particular comes to mind with their early efforts. Melodic lead guitars are the key to atmospheric development of the record with quite a lot of melancholic touches to separate the rawer basis of the songs. Subtle keyboard underlines don’t do harm in that context either. Not to mention these almost chanting vocals that intersect with a “regular” screams. It all comes close to the currently trending tendencies of those anti-cosmic Black Metal bands. However, “Niets en niemendal” does shift from the aforementioned in the theme covered, which is inherently post-apocalyptic. Songs are well thought through (they did allow themselves enough time for development, right?) and arranged to perfection, to lead the listener along to the very end. Speaking about the end, the album ends with a three minute outro comprised of the Geiger counter sounds which obviously fits to the topic at hand, together with the cover art done by Maya Kurkhuli.

These 36 minutes stand as another proof of a thriving scene which has often been overlooked by the connoisseurs. Perhaps it is about time we all turn our ears towards the Netherlands. A couple of real hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. Meslamtaea is certainly one of them.

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