Fluisteraars put out one of the best metal records of the year last year in Luwte, an album of emotive black metal that achieved moments of both sorrow and euphoria through artful orchestration and, in particular, some masterful guitar work. Whereas Luwte was effortlessly refined, the Dutch trio’s new two-song EP Gelderland is comparatively savage — faster and more pummeling and chaotic. As is often the case when a metal band puts out material that’s more aggressive than their proceeding offering midway through an established career, Gelderland most clearly calls to mind earlier Fluisteraars material, namely their debut demo cassette. “The idea behind the process of our 7″ is going back to the roots: old craftsmanship, nature, raw sound, and a fast recording session without much post-production,” Asher de Vries, Fluisteraars’ bassist, told me.
But Gelderland isn’t simply 10 minutes of pure belligerence at the expense of Fluisteraars’ more thoughtful side, which comes through even when they’re wailing away. On both “Zijsselt” and “Stuk,” when the songs simply can’t explode anymore, there are somewhat sudden breaks and clear pivots — the latter half of “Zijsselt” centers on a riff that’s more grunge than metal, and “Stuk” turns to navigate gloomy malaise. Bold shifts and contrasts have been recurrent in Fluisteraars’ material, and on Gelderland, named for the Dutch province that is home base for the band, the lyrics similarly focus on contradiction. “The three of us belong to the species that destroy, yet we want to preserve the province we live in,” de Vries says. Listen.
Gelderland is out 10/28 as a limited edition 7″ on Eisenwald Tonschmiede. It will also be available in digital formats.