L’Hiver en Deuil – Ter Aarde (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 8th January 2014
Rating: 6/10

The early years usually seem to be the most frustrating for metal bands as bodies and minds come together and try to carve their voice out of the darkness. For some it comes quickly and for others, it takes some time. For this Belgian group and their initial EP offering Ter Aarde, results in landing somewhere much closer to the ‘searching’ half of the spectrum. A mix of black metal (not all that dissimilar from the pagan style running wild in the UK) and doomy asides, the elements for awesome things are certainly in place, though they’re unfortunately not always mixed in compelling ways.

Sometimes slower or medium and steady is the name of the game, such as in tracks “Ocean Black” and “As,” and these are unfortunately indicative of when the band is at its least appealing, the latter track in particular a kind of dull dirge. All is not lost, however, as the multi-part and many-colored ‘Gekluisterd’ is a fun epic, especially when the band picks up the pace in the mid section. And the band closes out on its strongest foot with the fastest of the bunch in “Fatum”, and aside from the strange clicking in the drums, is a fantastic piece of black metal.

That the introductory piece is included twice (initially backward and then normally) is a peculiar one, but certainly no worse than a lot of the throwaway introductory tracks tacked on to most metal releases. On a whole Ter Aarde is a frustrating release, if only because there are moments (especially in the latter two tracks) when the band really shine in delivery. That mid-paced meanders dominate most of this release is what hurts it the most, as its often times hard to find something to latch onto for interest in the slow goings. Often times, however, a band must crap out the early mediocrity in order to create gold later (worked for Deathspell Omega!), and this seems to be where L’Hiver en Deuil might be heading. We can only hope.

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