Berlin’s NIDARE may not have been active for a very long time, but since the release of their debut demo in November 2019, the band have gone from strength to strength, and this demo, along with their contribution to a four way split with ARGON, WELK and LAZAR, has already established the quintet as one of the German underground’s more intriguing acts. With the release of the band’s first full-length album, Von Wegen, their intense and heady take on post-black metal is finally getting a more expansive treatment, and serves as an incredibly solid start to their recording life, being as bleak as it is bellicose.
Sintflut is a dark start to the record, with the frenetic drums setting a ferocious pace which dense guitar and bass lines complement extremely well. The caustic, soaring vocals and lighter, melodic leads carve through the mix and add an acerbic edge to what is a relatively coarse but powerful piece of music that doesn’t let up until well into its second half, shifting to a softer post-rock feel that serves as a break from the biting approach that it began with. Von Wegen adopts a slower tempo, but still possesses the same degree of bleak intensity, with jarring rhythmic bursts from the guitars injecting some harsher moments into the mix, along with the equally acidic vocals punctuating the expansiveness of the rest of the track. The contrast between the music’s heavier and more reserved elements helps to make this an engrossing offering.
Next comes the monolithic Silhouette, a song that manages to utilise the atmospheric clean tones of the guitars more effectively than the first two, leaning prominently into the band’s post-rock influences with excellent results. There are still energetic, speed-driven parts that are firmly rooted in black metal – notably the vocals and some of the drum fills – but this generally embraces the full scope of the band’s sound, allowing the tighter, catchier components to take centre stage and turning this into an eclectic, grand sounding affair.
Unwesen opts for chunkier guitars, adding an aggression and depth to the sound whilst retaining a lot of the ethereal parts that served the last three songs so well. The slightly jarring style of leads along with the visceral vocal deliveries again provides some vitriol, making the track both belligerent and brooding at points. Windspiel, another lengthy number similar to Silhouette, reverts to the polished cleans and minimalism, with subtle flourishes that elevate this track, notably the sludgy bass hooks and the large, chord based guitar sound when the music lurches into more distorted black metal territory. It lends a dark, melancholic touch to the rest of the music, giving it an emotive weight along with a musical one – something that ultimately cements this as one of the more impressive and enduring songs on the record.
If the album’s penultimate track is arguably its best, then Immer noch is certainly its most fierce, with the meatier guitar and bass tones creating a vast wall of sound, and even the vocals having a venom-soaked edge that they haven’t possessed until now. The post-rock sections which bridge the two halves work exceptionally well, and adopt an intricate and layered sound that is unlike anything that featured on the preceding five songs. More so than any other track on the album, though, it manages to balance the post-rock and black metal portions of the music far better, ebbing and flowing between the two seamlessly.
This is a really solid and impressive debut album, but like many debut albums, although the foundations have been laid, the full potential of the band’s sound hasn’t been fully realised yet. On many of these songs, the balance between the post-rock/metal and black metal elements isn’t as smooth as it could be, although there are some tracks, such as Silhouette, Windspiel and Immer Noch that have managed to incorporate both without one element being too dominant in the overall sound. Furthermore, the production is a little rawer than it needs to be, and it’s clear that some of the earlier tracks on the album especially might have benefited from a slightly more polished mix. Other than these two fairly minor, and easily remedied, issues, there’s very little to find fault with on Von Wegen, and it shows a lot of promise for NIDARE as a creative force.
Von Wegen is out now via Through Love Records.
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