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Fluisteraars – Bloem Award winner

Fluisteraars
Bloem
by Gary Hernandez at 18 March 2020, 7:27 AM

FLUISTERAARS (trans. “whisperers”) is a Black Metal band hailing from Bennekom, Netherlands. Over the last 11 years they have released three full-length albums, as well as a smattering of shorter efforts (demos, EP, split). On February 28, 2020 they released their third album, “Bloem” (flower). If you’re questioning the merits of a Black Metal band delving into the dark nuances of fauna, I must admit I was in the same camp. The key word here is “was.” “Bloem” is something of objet d'art that – wait for it – grows on you. Yep, that just happened.

All the instrumentation comes down to Mink Koops, except brass flourishes which are provided by T. Cochrane (who also mixed the album in collaboration with Koops). Surprisingly, Koops is an evenly keeled musician, which is to say his guitar work is just as good as his drumming which is as good as his keyboards, etc. The point is, they are all good. Bob Mollema’s vocals – harsh, screeching — are befitting and oddly well enunciated. Musically, the album is more melodic than aggressive. There is the requisite greyscape which comes with most Black Metal, but the bass lines are clear and explorative, and the riffs are alternatively tremelo and sustained.

I had to run the lyrics, which are all in Dutch, through online translation which tends to yield dubious results. Regardless, the poetic nature of the text still flows through. The songs are both poignant and thought provoking; the musical arrangements emphasis each high and low, creating contrasts, adding undertow, accenting revelations. In short, this is some masterful songwriting.

My favorite tracks are “Nasleep,” “Vlek,” “Eeuwige Ram” and “Maanruïne,” which constitute four of the total five tracks. For some reason, “Tere Muur” didn’t catch me, which is odd as it is the intro track. It is still very good, but somehow doesn’t resonate quite as well as the rest of the album. Lyrically, it is one of the most provoking songs on the album, which probably solves the riddle. On the downside, I wasn’t completely sold of the wind instruments, but it stuck with the overriding harmonies so wasn’t too distracting.

Altogether, “Bloem” is one of my favorite albums so far for 2020. From the verdant album cover to the hypnotic melodies to the deep lyrics, this is an album that inspires introspection and invokes a type of awe that is imbued in nature and reflected in our own beings. Good stuff here. Highly recommended.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tere muur
2. Nasleep
3. Eeuwige ram
4. Vlek
5. Maanruïne
Lineup:
Mink Koops – Guitars, Drums, Bass, Piano, Tambourine, Timpani
Bob Mollema – Vocals
Record Label: Eisenwald
     


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Edited 14 July 2020
 

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