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Dromers (2014), 6.5/10
Luwte (2015)
Bloem (2020), 6/10
Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking (2021), 5/10

Dutch black-metal combo Fluisteraars, fronted by vocalist Rob Mollema with bassist Asher de Vries and multi-instrumentalist Mink Koops (who plays both guitar and drums), specialized in sweeping, awe-inspiring melodies.

After two demos, later compiled on Relaas (2020), their first album Dromers (2014) delivered three lengthy pieces of mostly sedate, repetitive, distorted, wistful, Emperor-style black metal. The 16-minute De Doornen quickly descends into an acoustic intermezzo and a stereotypical waltzing section before (at the nine-minute mark) soaring into an electrifying threnody (but the last five minutes are anchored to a stately slow melody that evokes Neil Young). After four minutes Kuddedier interrupts the repetitive guitar leitmotif with a suspenseful wind of ghostly whispers (the band's name means "the whisperers") and two guitars spend the last two minutes on variations around a folkish melody. Wortels van Angst prepares the atmosphere for six minutes with virulent and discordant jamming before the growling vocalist finally begins his derelict show. The experience is intense enough to make one accept and forget the often expendable repetition.

Luwte (2015) reached a peak of intensity with the 15-minute Stille Wateren, while the mood swings of the 13-minute De Laatste Verademing seem more gratuitous and the singer comes through as verbose. The demonic opening of Angstvrees would be the highlight if it didn't stop after three minutes and if it didn't simply repeat itself at the end.

After the disappointing two-song EP Gelderland (2016), and the split album De Oord (2018) with fellow Dutch band Turia, which contains Fluisteraars' Oevertloos (14:49), it felt like they may be disbanding.

Instead they returned with a more user-friendly album, Bloem (2020), whose songs are much shorter and catchier, starting with the anthemic melody of Tere Muur. They borrow a page from Deafheaven for the lugubrious midtempo of standout Nasleep but add an impressive cast of howling ghosts in the mid-section and a majestic instrumental coda. Emo vocals fuel the agony of Eeuwige Ram, which is, in disguise, a desolate folk lullaby. The waltzing Vlek boasts an acoustic break and strings that join the singalong finale. The second half of the confused Maanruine features an emotional guitar solo leading to a mournful choir. The effort to simplify their sound is not completely successful. It almost makes one miss the redundance of the early albums.

Gegrepen Door de Geest der Zielsontluiking (2021) returned to the format of epic-length compositions. Brand Woedt in Mijn Graf weds black metal with arena-style melodrama. Het Overvleugelen der Meute is vicious enough to stand next to Burzum (before the last two minutes of ambient suspense). The vehement bacchanal that opens the 20-minute Verscheuring in de Schemering quickly settles into the stereotypical waltzing tempo. Halfway, the music dies and for a few minutes there is just a disordered soundscape. Finally, the ferocious assault of the beginning resumes. None of this is groundbreaking and much of it is dejavu.

They then released the EPs De kronieken van het verdwenen kasteel - I - Harslo (2023) and De kronieken van het verdwenen kasteel - II - Nergena (2023), each one containing two songs, not particularly original.

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )