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Ved Buens Ende - Those Who Caress The Pale - 60%

ConorFynes, December 12th, 2011

Although released officially in 1997, 'Those Who Caress The Pale' is a demo that predates Ved Buens Ende's full-length opus. It does seem somewhat redundant to hear this album after hearing the fulfilled vision of the band on 'Written In Waters', but as it stands, 'Those Who Caress The Pale' is a very good demo that shows plenty of the potential that the band would later go on to realize in greater detail. As anyone who has heard 'Written In Waters' can attest, the band has a very unique sound to them, one that twas years ahead of its time and much different from the typical Norwegian black metal that the band was surrounded with. While 'Written In Waters' makes quite a bit of the material here obsolete, there is thankfully enough stuff not yet heard to make this a worthy listen of its own.

Much of the music here is dominated by abrasive, harsh riffs and the decidedly un-metal crooning of vocalist Czral. Many of the songs here would later be re-recorded for 'Written In Waters', with musicianship and especially the vocal performance being tightened up for it. Here, I get the sense that the band is just as capable as they were on the full-length, but they were less meticulous about it, moreso wanting to get the music out, rather than focusing on the details. This shows, and much of this demo is muddy and obscured by a fairly thin production that some would say was typical of the black metal scene of the time. The standout tracks here are the same ones that managed to find their way onto the full-length, although for a Ved Buens Ende fanatic looking for a few extra minutes of dissonant riffing and maniacal vocals, this recording is far beyond what I would normally expect of a demo.