Genuflect at the altar of Urgehal (Nor), Odium (Nor) and Carpathian Forest (Nor) and the response from the Great Beyond is for you to also find darkened spiritual (and musical solace) in Dutch black metal purveyors Kjeld. Not to be confused with the other Dutch black metal outfit Kjeld, this Friesland-based outfit — wait, both Kjeld’s are from Friesland! — is heavily imbued with Nordic black metal, especially but not limited to their upcoming full-length Ôfstân (Heidens Hart). Indeed, the quintet, featuring current and ex-members of Dutch black metal nihilists Lugubre and Asregen, have proffered via watery North Sea shrines their allegiance to the cold wintery tenets of what was coming out of Norway in the late ’90s and early aughts.
Marching into the night with torches aloft, Decibel and Heidens Hart (Mortiis, Forefather) teamed up to unveil new Kjeld atmospheric blaster “Betsjoend.” While mostly clocking in the faster BPMs, Kjeld ensure there’s enough “Frisian” atmosphere — forests, lakes, and myths — imbued into and spiking outward their black that it doesn’t feel like they’re single-minded in attack. There’s nuance to Kjeld’s internal/external strife. To wit, the keyboard line — subtle underneath Tsjuster and Bile’s rampaging fretboard work and Skier’s life-ending howls — supports the overall expeditious compositional theme. It provides lift, much in the same way Enslaved used electronics on “Midgards Eldar” (from Vikingligr Veldi) to give it a lofty feel.
Says Kjeld: “We are proud to present the opening track from our new album Ôfstân. The album was written over the course of 2017, 2018 and 2019. Since our early beginnings, the band has had one vision: to combine aggression and atmosphere in black metal. We draw inspiration from Frisian nature, myths and sagas, and the darkness of man, combining these to create their own unique sound. Kjeld plays fast-paced black metal without forsaking melody and dynamics. As always, the songs are soaked in the rich and ancient Frisian history, and solely chanted in Frisian language. The album will feature almost an hour of music. Expect our most diverse and mature sound, without compromising the basic premise that defines Kjeld: aggression and atmosphere.”