Band: Wiegedood Country: Belgium Album: There's Always Blood At the End of the Road Label: Century Media Records Website: Instagram...

Wiegedood - There's Always Blood At the End of the Road (2022)

Band: Wiegedood
Country: Belgium
Album: There's Always Blood At the End of the Road
Label: Century Media Records
Website: Instagram 


Wiegedood made a mark from day one with their debut De doden hebben het goed in 2015, and it's justified when thinking of how intriguing it would be to listen to Amenra / Oathbreaker members create a project of more straightforward black metal than what they're doing with their main bands. That album, which was not prone to weaknesses, still sounds quite unique and powerful, with guitar work that has been kept in high regard but a significant part of the scene. It is also such an example of releases bordering with nearby genres, providing a bridge for transition of fans from one side to the other and back.

During the first few years, three albums were released rather close to each other and conclude the initial conceptual trilogy the band had in mind. Eerie natural landscapes with a sigil as artworks, similar structure and production, the De doden hebben het goed (=the dead are well) trilogy finished in 2018 and that's when Wiegedood took a slightly longer pause to prepare their next work, which ultimately arrived 4 years later and it seems quite different right of the bat. There's Always Blood At the End of the Road, is the first album that features more than 4 tracks, it has a completely different approach on the front cover, it now has an English title and songs, and it's also longer in duration, making a rather clear case of how the band is now up for something different than before.

At first glance, I was worried about the state of this album. I'm a big fan of visuals like in the De doden hebben het goed trilogy and now the cover is significantly darker and more minimal. Looking at the tracklist, I didn't know what to make of some of the titles and wasn't sure of the band's intentions, especially for the first three songs. Thankfully, all these worries were completely overpowered by the sheer heaviness the record contains, which presents an even more extreme and complete form of Wiegedood up to this date. Now, I still have distinct points in their music that I don't fully enjoy, but all their particular characteristics and prowess have now been amplified into grislier, more severe levels.

If you have heard of them before, you have already noticed how this band exerts pressure through scourging riffs. Above all, this is the one element that glorifies There's Always Blood At the End of the Road once again and in a more convincing manner than their previous works. It's a rewarding experience to go through this album and simply savor on the delicacy and brutality these guitars openly offer, as Wiegedood have this ability to immediately hook you with a riff. There's often no building, no wondering of the listener where this will lead, and they also properly use the melodies as repetitively as they want to establish the crippling atmosphere of this record. After a few tracks, the cover art makes sense: the sigil has moved from the landscapes to the ground, probably at the black concrete of an urban street, and it's now bloody.

Needless to say, pieces like "FN SCAR 16", "Theft and Begging" and "Carousel", are ugly masterpieces of the aforementioned tactic. The sound has also become filthier and more aggressive, compared to the production of the previous records that had a cleaner, kind of "crunchy" feel to it. I believe Wiegedood aimed for something more grotesque this time, and they have achieved that not only by not losing their core, but by expanding on it. Still, the opening of "Until It Is Not" reminds a bit of the track "De doden hebben het goed III" from their previous record, which ties nicely with the next track of the album "Now Will Always Be", in what I reckon is a full phrase: until it is not, now will always be. These two tracks also feature some drone / noise experimentation, as well as clean guitar passages, used as connecting points for a smoother flow, and the word smooth is not meant literally here, as it's the last word that would describe this listening experience.

The baritone singing and monotony, as well as background sounds of "Now Will Always Be", were one of the most memorable moments of the record for me. On the other hand, there's points in There's Always Blood At the End of the Road, that Wiegedood decides to stall and turn more abstract, more like scenes from a movie that don't make sense right away. The switch from the opening track to "And In Old Salamano's Room, the Dog Whimpered Softly" is amazing, yet the latter has a distinct slower paced part from its middle to its end that might be just a bit too empty, and I feel exactly the same about the track "Nuages". Amazing opening, then turning into something seriously less effective, but with enough seemingly directionless playing that could be a jamming session in the song simply adding to the artistry. Remarks also go to the vivid noise experimentation of the ending part of "Noblesse Oblige Richesse Oblige". 

I have a feel that these passages of the record will still be really enjoyed by the fans of the band, and they are a main part of what makes There's Always Blood At the End of the Road, and its members, what they are. For example, I don't get why an interlude "Wade" should even be there, as it sounds like a Shining b-side never released and has a completely out of context few second part in the end, that really doesn't fit the rest of the atmosphere. Hopefully though, these moments are too few and would be excluded, as all the rest of the compositions in the album are simply too dynamic and dominant. It's also interesting that I can't think of any other term rather than plain black metal for Wiegedood, even though they're clearly not the average band out there.

All in all, There's Always Blood At the End of the Road is a monster. Worthy of being played on repeat, it goes like a seamless stream and while being intense and uncomfortable, it's totally addictive and has hints of optimism that I recognized (at least compared to the members' other bands, whoever knows, knows). Apart from a couple of tracks, I absolutely loved every part of this record and I don't know yet if it will be a contender, but I can surely say that the year has started with a blast. Wiegedood are more assertive than ever with their fourth release, which will erase any doubts you might have by first looking at it, like me. 

Release date: 14th of January, 2022

Tracklist:
1. FN SCAR 16
2. And in Old Salamano’s Room, the Dog Whimpered Softly
3. Noblesse Oblige Richesse Oblige 
4. Until It Is Not
5. Now Will Always Be
6. Wade
7. Nuages
8. Theft and Begging 
9. Carousel

Listen:

3 comments:

  1. They should have taken the same visual direction for the full-length album cover as they did with the singles released through Spotify… Those felt so much more compelling, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the same, the cover still puts me off a bit even though I really like the album and I get the choice... Did you like it anyhow?

      Delete
    2. Yeah fair enough! I don't think I have sat with this album enough to have any staunch opinion so far… But I like what I have heard.

      Delete