Change is afoot in the Church Of Ra camp. First Amenra break from tradition by calling their last record De Doorn instead of the usual numbered Masses, and now affiliates Wiegedood have retired the De Doden Hebben Het Goed I-III moniker that adorned their first three albums in favour of the more ominous There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road. It makes sense to present this fourth record as a new entity, as whilst not a complete reinvention, it certainly finds the trio branching out beyond the confines of their early work.
Each chapter of that initial trilogy seemed to follow a formula, and although Wiegedood found room to innovate within that formula and keep it fresh, this new album does away with it entirely, allowing the band to venture into even more dynamic and atmospheric territory. Now Will Always Be is a great example, broadening the band’s crisp, modern black metal sound out into a more hypnotic and darkly melodic dirge, complete with sinister Attila Csihar-esque throat singing. Or there’s the way the unnervingly dissonant clean guitars of Wade transition into the blistering furore of Nuages, only to return during the song’s stuttering, uncharacteristically spacious finale.
There’s still plenty of that unrepentant piss and vinegar that made their earlier records so thrilling here, however. Opener FN SCAR 16 is one of their most aggressive songs yet, based around a proper swarm-of-angry-bees tremolo riff that really bores its way into your brain, and the blast-addled Until It Is Not showcases some of the most pained shrieks guitarist Levy Seynaeve has ever put to tape. That extra intensity, combined with the more adventurous album structure and more confidently paced atmospherics, make this Wiegedood’s most convincingly hostile release yet. A snarling beast of a record that proves they’re so much more than just an Amenra or Oathbreaker side-project.
There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road is out January 14 via Century Media