Fluisteraars - Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking
Release date: August 27th, 2021
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
This band's last album Bloem, not only had a big impact on me, but it also brought some more mainstream attention as a case of more accessible and also fairly personal style of black metal. It was one of the richest, more diverse albums Fluisteraars put out, with a wide variety of instruments that emphasized their emotive character, and for once made Dutch sound great. When looking at the news for a new record just a year later, I thought they keep on the habit to release two albums for two consecutive year, as it had happened in 2014 with their debut Dromers, and Luwte a year later.
From the aesthetics of Gegrepen door de geest der zielsontluiking (=gripped by the Spirit of Soul Blossoming..?), one would imagine that the band decides to take a rawer, more straightforward approach this time than the milder previous work. A title that can't be pronounced by a non-native, and a black and white simplistic cover, may hint an intention of possibly reaching a more underground audience, as they have also returned to a three song structure of about thirty five minutes, something that was exercised again seven years ago during the first steps of the band. So, Gegrepen... has three tracks, and the biggest chunk of the record is taken up by the last piece, a twenty minute long mammoth composition named "Verscheuring in de schemering". Subsequently, the album is indeed based on a pretty clearly dirtier sound, the production sounds distant but organic, almost as if it was not recorded at a studio at all.
Despite the cover and production though, Fluisteraars don't really aim for a more aggressive record, since most of the music in Gegrepen... is business as usual for the band. The -by now- characteristic, natural structural ideas are dominant, with their compositional narrative having not changed at all to an extent that you almost feel you know these tracks, if you've heard of Fluisteraars before. Especially in the case of the last track, which for its first ten minutes, is almost the same as "Oeverloos" from their 2018 split with Turia, the riffs and how the different parts are connected are basically the same, which is probably the recipe the band follows if they wanna make a really long piece. Things get more abstract on the second half of "Verscheuring..." though, for a few minutes before asserting a charged ending to the record, that was pretty awesome. At times, it feels like this band appeals to me more than the average band because a few of their repetitive riffs I have been humming in my head at random times, and then somehow they create it.
Apart from that, the two other tracks of Gegrepen... should be noted for their passionate vocals (that's how you combine screams and clean yelling properly). Musically, I wasn't rocked of my chair as a whole from this record as I get a sense that Fluisteraars can produce something like this any day now, and I'm not sure how much effort or pushing the boundaries was actually put here. If you want to listen to their music with not the most polished production ever as it was in Bloem, you can pick this album or the more daring listener would even go to their older material, or last year's compilation Relaas. Yet, for a full length I was left with a bitter taste of wanting more from this. The band emphatically states that "there was no keyboards used on this record", a messages that implies their motive to put together an unfiltered, authentic release, which also has its unexpected turns, especially in the more contemporary parts that conclude tracks "Het overvleugelen der meute" and "Brand woedt in mijn graf".
In retrospect, one aspect Fluisteraars should be complemented for at least is their efforts to sound unique, and their production in Gegrepen... makes a case for this. It might alienate some listeners, but it's clear the band hasn't chosen this kind of, all in all pretty catered, sound just for the sake of it. With their new album, they haven't taken a step forward necessarily but I don't see that disappointing the fans, yet from such an impulsive band I would have appreciated a bit of out of the box thinking here and there, at least in the main bodies of the tracks. What they seriously need to work on though, is finding a new logo, because this mess looks terrible.
Damage: 3/5 [Good]