Niets en niemendal

Feb. 25, 2019


Share This Review


Niets en niemendal is likely to be many people’s first exposure to Dutch black metal band Meslamtaea, though the band’s origins stretch back as far as 1997.  Formed as the solo project of instrumentalist Floris Velthuis (Sagenland, Asgrauw), Meslamtaea released a full length and some smaller splits and demos before laying dormant for close to a decade.  In the time that has passed Floris’ bandmate Kaos from Asgrauw has joined the band on vocals after contributing to a 2017 split as a guest performer.  It’s clear that this lengthy gap between releases has been well-spent though, as Niets en niemendal refines Meslamtaea’s earlier ideas to an even more potent level and pushes towards a sound slightly outside the norm.

Where previous material emphasized a good deal of blasting and rawer edges, Niets en niemendal takes a slightly more subdued approach.  That’s not to say that there aren’t harsh sections throughout the album that provide jagged edges that are as sharp as anything else in the black metal genre, but with the writing favoring a slower approach Meslamtaea has shifted its focus to darker melodies and a thick atmosphere that has a more introspective feel.  Each of the seven tracks takes this base and heads off in differing directions, sometimes offering riffs that give off some folk/pagan influence while other times doubling down on the depressive, dreary melodies that pull you right in.  At times the fluid nature of the transitions from abrasive to melodic and the warmness of the arrangements remind me of fellow Dutchmen Laster, though Meslamtaea remains a bit more rooted in traditional black metal.  “Weer een dag” and “Slapende stad” are definite standouts, as they reach levels of atmosphere that wash over you with a depressive yet inviting feel and demonstrate the group’s ability to write in a way that’s more fluid and unpredictable than can be typical for the style. 

Kaos is a strong addition to the group, as he has the type of high pitched, unhinged scream that cuts through the instrumentation and immediately grabs your attention.  Though the songwriting may incorporate a good deal more atmosphere and melody than before, the vocals reinforce the harsh side of the spectrum and consistently add an abrasive edge.  But there’s a bit more subtlety to the vocal performance as well, as rather than sticking with the same screaming range for the entire album there are quite a few spoken word and clean passages that switch things up quite a bit.  Meslamtaea has utilized this on some of their previous releases so it may not be a major change, but the interplay between the harsh and clean ranges goes a long way in making the songs feel more dynamic.

Meslamtaea has evolved considerably, with its sophomore full length providing a more nuanced and dynamic listen that captures as much introspection and melancholy as it does all out chaos.  While it may initially come off as your standard atmospheric/melodic black metal release, once you spend a little bit of time with this album you’ll find that it branches off in unexpected ways and pulls in influences that give it a different overall sound.  Hopefully there won’t be as long of a wait between material in the future, as the entrancing melodies and fluid writing hint at even greater things to come and leave me curious of just where the project will go next.  Niets en niemendal is out now from Heidens Hart Records.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with others to help us grow. You can also like and follow us on the social media of your choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon.

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter for Updates on New Content