REVIEW - AERDRYK – MET DE DRIETAND OP MIJN HUID
If, in the beginning, there indeed was really only darkness then Aerdryk would probably be content there. With this album, the band delve deep into the arcane mists with rapacious, low-fi BM that is so dimly lit in wavering reverb and indistinct synths it is essentially an ambient record.
At first, this is perhaps a distant – and distinctly European – contorted relation of Wolves in the Throne Room’s expansive mystique. The main difference is that this ventures even deeper into the cerebral thickets of multi-layered low-key mistiness. This music belongs firmly to a subset of BM where the emphasis is on atmosphere, aura and tone and an unforgiving natural aesthetic rather than song structure – and be in no doubt that the hue is unerringly murky.
Essentially, the core of this record is a mendacious dose of traditional feral BM with its old school raspy vocals and blizzards of blastbeats which are submerged in ethereal, gaseous reverb and foggy synths. The clear intention is to retain the rawness of old (well, 1990s) and emulsify it with a disturbing sense of inscrutability – or the oft-cited immersive sound. This type of music, though, can walk a tightrope between immersion and tedium. With Met de Drietand op Mijn Huid, Aerdryk can be both - sometimes at the same time - depending on your constitution.
There are buzzing, harsh riffs and an undulating bass hidden low in the mix, barely audible. This is entirely intentional, of course, so much of the rawness is bathed in shimmery enigma. It has an unsettling, low-fi, dark age quality with the relentless percussion pounding through the draconian haze. Yet it’s a fine line between imagining this sound is being psychologically transmuted from an impenetrable, dew soaked, world of yore to having black metal playing while you are in the shower. At points it is savage with the likes of Kruisweg having a more incisive edge. There are also some pagan-esque droned chants to give this an intermittent ritualistic, nature-worship vibe.
Mostly, though, this is a meditative exercise with amorphous synths tinkling out cyclical progressions and an invariable wistful hiss of reverb. At its best, this can be mesmerizingly atmospheric underground BM that is decisively evasive, challenging and obtuse. Also, music like this is all too often prone of disappearing up its own void by wandering off and getting lost in self-indulgence or pretension. But here the album is, mercifully, kept to a sensible run-time. That doesn’t, however, quite prevent the incessant wavering ambience at times verging into distraction. With few troughs, builds, or climaxes it is a relentless fizzy assault on the senses that equally threatens to envelop the imagination or overwhelm patience. Take this to the woods at night but not the next pool party.
Check out Aerdryk on bandcamp: https://aerdryk.bandcamp.com/releases