The new album Bloem from the Dutch black metal group Fluisteraars feels absolutely stunning. The record feels like an entry point to some gloriously blossoming alternate world where chaos and beauty grow right alongside one another with the same bright colors in each, to take a cue from the flowery album art. Occasionally, Bloem even feels startlingly tear-jerking, because the band build up honestly beautiful melodies with the tools of the black metal palette, which amplifies the melodic experience’s impact big time.
Their melodies feel rallyingly lush and occasionally subtly triumphant. When Fluisteraars do get traditionally intense, alluring streaks of groove still tear right through the haze of their thick rock-toned blast beats and quiveringly furious guitar performances. “Nasleep,” which was released as a single, sports orchestral string and brass melodies that feel like they’re streaking across the sky of the immersive soundscape that the band have crafted. (The Bennekoms String Quartet performs on the album.) Wailed vocals pierce through the song’s fog in preparation for a comparative slowdown in the music that provides the perfect launching point for the soaring conclusion featuring more of that quiveringly furious electric guitar, solemn keys ringing out, and a steady drum rhythm.
Across Bloem, the band find a dizzying array of fresh paths towards making the cacophonous musical storms that they’ve captured more intimate and human-feeling, and that’s also reflected on “Nasleep,” whose regally persistent, dramatic conclusion feels emotionally gripping.
The group veers between menacing blasts and rousing, energetic psychedelic rock melody with startling smoothness, which feels like a release for pent-up emotions hiding in the shadows of the emotional areas that the band are exploring. They dive into those rock melodies even further on “Eeuwige Ram,” the album’s third track, which features just about no blast beats for awhile but melody that’s so consistent and alluringly intricate that it feels suddenly emotionally inviting. The track’s listening experience feels like stumbling on some bright commune hidden away in a corner of vast woods. Ominous clouds still hang in the visible distance — and Fluisteraars kick off the following track, “Vlek,” with a return to their blast beat storms — but for the time being, the comfortably dark familial feeling settles in.
Check out the music below! Bloem drops in full via Eisenwald on February 28.