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Hamergilde > Weerwolf > Reviews > meelhuysen
Hamergilde - Weerwolf

The Return... - 85%

meelhuysen, October 13th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Cassette, Independent (Limited edition)

After (too) many years of silence Hamergilde has been called back into existence as a solo endeavour by one of its founding musicians, Odal, to return with a full-length album, released on Heidens Hart. It’s called Weerwolf – yes indeed, ‘werewolf’ in Dutch – and lasts about 35 minutes, offering traditional black metal without going for typical rawness or breakneck tempos, but neither resorting to reverb-rich doom elements or keyboards for its darker side. It has also taken a distance from the RaC-elements that sometimes popped up on the old releases.

I’m glad to hear that some things in Hamergilde are still the same – German and Dutch lyrics, both languages that, in my opinion, really fit black metal – and some things have changed for the better. One of the first things I notice is the sound of the album, which is very well produced and has a certain warmth that brings out the best of the deep – and very understandable – black metal vocals and the clean supporting vocals. The band has definitely said goodbye to traditional treble-filled black metal of old, and sounds more modern without parting with the old-school feeling and riffs. The drums function as the heartbeat of the songs and never take a leading role, like in a lot of contemporary black metal (an element adopted from death metal). It also becomes apparent that the tempo has been taken back a notch, compared to the demos. It’s actually not until the third track that I first hear double basskicks and a bit of uptempo rhythms. The fact that Odal has been walking around in the black metal scene for quite a long time, shows itself on this demo. Even the outro reaches back to the first half of the 1990s, with a short take on the kind of material early Mortiis once offered. It stresses the fact that Hamergilde is a band that has developed a great eye (ear) for atmosphere.

When comparing this releases Hamergilde with another band, I think of a modern version of old Countess. This is best heard in the tracks with Dutch lyrics, which possess a similar atmosphere and, dare I say it, a certain intimacy (at least for a Dutch speaking audience). There is actually a Countess cover on the album, so the comparison isn’t a random coincidence. Bloed in the Sneeuw is that band’s best known and most requested song, and it’s reworked by Hamergilde in a very convincing way; even without the trademark screaming of Orlok.

Apart from the music, Hamergilde and Heidens Hart offer a nice, professionally made tape with a simple but effective and stylish cover, that is worth the money you will pay for it. Hamergilde is a band the proves that Dutch black metal is still very much alive, and that it’s a national scene with great diversity.