Sep 2011 08

Aderlating - Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone
Category: Black Metal / Experimental / Ambient
Album: Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Dutch debutants give you a glimpse into hell… without guitars.


If we’re being honest, the Dutch metal scene has often been one reserved for lurid schlock merchants – a dedicated safe home where fist pumping thrash metal purists and lovers of jagged, atonal grind-core riffs convened and drank pale lager. But this was a scene that never really displayed any signs of allowing something more cerebral or restrained into its musical canon. That is, until Aderlating came brooding through the northwest ready to turn all of our preconceptions upside down. Aderlating establish their intentions from the off; the name is Sanskrit for Hell, which is a theme further reinforced by the album art exhibiting a beaked 17th century plague doctor fresh from crucifixion. The band’s preoccupations with all things purgatorial are set up nicely in this single, striking image, making no effort to mask the twisted universes they craft. Therefore all responsibility is now on you, the eavesdropper, to embark upon the journey they’ve planned out for you – but, you should be well prepared before revealing the hells of Pandora’s Box dear listener.

The desolate realms Aderlating creates amid their unique fusion of cacophonous cymbal crashes and pops of soft static are truly nightmarish and it’s clear they’re far from oblivious to the feelings of unease their music evokes. “Black Emperor at The Temple.” the introductory track is a strong start to proceedings, eking its way under your skin like something straight from a Merzbow album. It’s all about the atmosphere Aderlating gives you. In this dark, sinister temple muffled moans materialize like dirty water gulped down a creaking pipeline. With “Descending the Noraka I” comes sounds reminiscent of rats and insect feet scuttling along metallic surfaces. You’re almost glad “Spear of Gold and the Seraphim Bone” doesn’t have a companion piece in the form of an accompanying film reel. The atmosphere is taut and there’s a sense that the whole album could just explode in your face at any time… but it doesn’t. Aderlating maintains an admirable composure and continues weaving away each moody set piece as delicately as Edwardian crochet. At times the pace seems laboriously slow, but it is all part of the desired effect – a piece of work that’s open for multiple interpretations. This isn’t your standard metal outfit, barely meriting the moniker of black metal at all. It’s all texture and tone on Spear of Gold and the Seraphim Bone. Aderlating’s pathos isn’t entirely depressing either; in a way, it’s rather refreshing. They occasionally deviate from the core formula where vague murmurs are abandoned in favor of demonic yowls. “Engel Der Wrake” is a terrifying centerpiece – a slab of monstrous dialogue laid over tom beats that thump through your entire body, reverberates down each vertebrae of the spinal column before the arches of your feet tense tight. It’s an awe inspiring sound to behold.

In an age where music needs an injection of cynicism, Aderlating succeeds in their goal 100%. The experience may well have a profound effect on you, and while you might feel like you’ve just spent an hour stuck in the darkest corner of hell, at least you’ll have had an experience. Those with the cajones to endure Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone’s full 64 minute runtime will no doubt be greatly satisfied with feelings of trepidation clinging tight to your mortal soul. There’s no doubt they do what they do very, very well. Aderlating offer you a glimpse of hell that’s so visceral it almost transcends any musical ethos. With follow-up Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone, Part 2 set for release later this year, we can expect more of the same: dark ambience and relentlessly bleak atmospherics. You’ll emerge from this album with the vestiges of an actual nightmare and you might not know what to do with yourself afterwards.

Track list:

  1. Black Emperor at the Temple
  2. Descending the Noraka I
  3. Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone
  4. A Burial on the Slopes of Mount Sinai
  5. Engel Der Wrake
  6. A New Plague for Every Triumph

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Christopher Gordon Kelso (Gutties44)

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