Review Summary: All This and De Doden II
Belgian black metal band Wiegedood have returned two years after the release of their relatively well-received debut, De Doden Hebben Het Goed
, with their sophomore album. With the minimalism and humor one would expect of a black metal band, Wiegedood not only took the name of their freshman record and stuck a Roman numeral II
on the end of it, but also chose to use very similar cover artwork--again going for the “pagan-y stick bundle thing sitting in a field beneath a melancholic sky” idea. Krieg
. But does this new entry into the De Doden
series live up to its relatively unoriginal title? In short, yes: while the first-generation De Doden
album featured a cold, synthetically treble-heavy-like-they’re-pretending-to-be-from-1996 oriented sound coupled with a definitively second wave-inspired instrumental style, De Doden 2: Belgian Metal Boogaloo
seems to act as a fairly well represented sequel.
Featuring a largely similar black metal style as before, Wiegedood Episode II: Attack of the Clones
dips its toes into a handful of different black metal cliches as if going down a checklist, making clear nods to and more-or-less lifting ideas directly from various bands of olde. Both ‘Cataract” and the title track feature lengthy sections with clearly Burzum-esque influences on hypnotic tremolo leads and slow tempos, with the former adopting a faster and more Emperor-ian riffing style in its second half, and the latter a adopting a melodic flourish here or there that was definitely written after listening to Storm of the Light’s Bane
a few too many times. The as-yet unmentioned bookends also feel similarly borrowed in style, albeit with quicker tempos; featuring mostly blast beat-driven rhythm sections and frantic riffing, both “Ontzielling” and “Smeekbede” round out the album by focusing on the faster sides of “traditional” black metal. The two pieces mostly abandon the band’s infatuation with Burzum altogether for styles much more akin to the unrelenting tempos of traditionalist acts like 1349 or Marduk.
While Live Free Or De Doden II
may be a solid follow-up to its well-received and more originally titled predecessor, it still at its core feels like a copy and pasting of many typical black metal-isms and straight stylistic tributes rather than something new. Normally being run-of-the-mill isn’t much of a problem for black metal music, but the material on De Doden II
simply isn’t strong enough to justify all of its clear stylistic copying and get away with it without criticism. And while the resulting record definitely isn’t bad, it lacks a sense of personality and organicness that could’ve made it feel a bit more worthwhile. As far as sequels go, though, De Doden II: Back in the Habit
still isn’t half bad.