Review Summary: Ved Buens Ende forge their unique black metal, in the same way Jackson Pollock, the famous Abstract Expressionist painter, crafted his paintings.
Every time I listen to Ved Buens Ende’s sole album Written In Waters
, my mind directs me subconsciously to the work of that famous American painter, Jackson Pollock. Being “just another” painter during the first 10-15 years of his career, he discovered accidentally his infamous “dripping” painting technique. That is, he begun to create stacks of multiple layers of “random” patterns onto a blank canvas, just by tossing paint of various colors and tones onto it. His “dripping technique” paintings were hailed as monumental works of art with respect to the so-called Abstract Expressionism movement, while Pollock himself was considered as one of its most important representatives.
In Written In Waters
, Ved Buens Ende forge their unique black metal, in the same way Jackson Pollock crafted his paintings. Just like Pollock did with his “dripping” technique, that is “hiding” his abstract patterns under one or multiple layers of “dirt”, Ved Buens Ende act likewise. A thin layer of amplifier fuzz is used to cloak the music, making the latter seem as if it is being “diluted” or “vaporized” when it is brought in contact with the former. In terms of the music itself, the ways of expression generically used in black metal are left aside, while the musical instruments are stimulated in the same “random” way Pollock gave birth to his abstract patterns. This stimulae is related to a broad spectrum of rhythms, most of which are calm and mesmerizing, yet all of them are dissonant and still within the maniacal pattern repeating philosophy that black metal demands by default. The drums, the bass and the electric guitars interact closely the one with the other only by a slight margin, so as to create a fragile substrate per song upon which each instrument will carve its own separate way. The same applies for the voices, regardless of whether they are clean, harsh or female.
The band’s performance is as tight as it can get. After all, VBE are a trio and hence they axiomatically file under the well-established apt performance that characterizes most rock n’ roll trios.
Vicotnik’s work on the guitars is amazingly eerie, transmitting the notion that something evil is about to approach any moment soon. Except from creating in each occasion the most fitting ensemble of notes per riff, he manages to keep them in a constant turmoil by changing them when least expected. That happens mostly when the rhythms per song are hypnotically slow and less when they are damn blast beating. His harsh vocals are “freezing moon” nihilistic, not being however typical for black metal in general. His voice sounds as if it’s being processed through machines.
Carl Michael Eide weaves magnificent beats with his drum kit, that create a ritual backbone for all the songs. Although the overall tempo of the album is “slow”, he sounds adequately neurotic, with his hands and the feet moving fast and tight, producing disjointed rhythms. In addition, whenever the songs require his blast beating abilities, he delivers in the most prominent way. Besides the drums, Carl Michael does all the clean vocals. He is crooning in the most abstract of ways, as if his mind is constantly troubled by somber thoughts.
Skoll’s bass patterns act as a double agent doing casual business on both sides of the table (drums and guitars), although it’s always one step away from exploiting the smallest of excuses to flee from both and cover their void as it
sees fit. Skoll’s skill as a bass player is simply magnificent, as it often forces the listener to track down what he is playing, often at the expense of both the guitars and the drums or the entire song for that matter.
The production is simply optimal. Clean and dirty at the same time. The riffs and the bass patterns are readily audible, despite the aforementioned amplifier fuzz. The voices are recorded superbly as well. The drums’ sound is amazingly physical, with the snare being in perfect balance with the double bass drums and the cymbals.
All in all, with Written In Waters
Ved Buens Ende bring about in full the left hand turn first endeavored with their demo EP, Those Who Caress the Pale
. It is a shame that the band didn’t continue what it started, due to a number of reasons, with its 2005 failed reunion. However, never say never.