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Kaeck - Het Zwarte Dictaat

Kaeck
Het Zwarte Dictaat
by Andrew Graham at 19 November 2021, 3:52 PM

Dutch Black Metallers KAECK unleash their sophomore release Het Zwarte Dictaat amidst a fury of whirlwind guitars and brooding synth atmosphere. Largely a side-project of Jan Kruitwagen and Ruud Nillesen, of SAMMATH fame, KAECK (formed in 2014) expands on the already extensive experience Kruitwagen and Nillesen have in the realm of war-themed Black Metal.

Album opener “Tegen Een Scharlaken Horizon” sets a moody scene of dark menace and threat. Rapid-fire passages of crunchy guitars and precision blastbeats are bookended by ominous synth sections that certainly establishes atmosphere. The catch is it doesn’t really go anywhere. We are largely restricted to the same patterns and riffs repeated over and over again, with no tangible journey.

This pattern is repeated in “De Kwekeling”, with the addition of confused wailing vocals that rather break the atmosphere that has been established. On “Het Zwarte Dictaat” also, great effort is made to establish a threatening atmosphere (which they do very well) but then is never used. There ought to be some movement here, the mood is a tool to be used and frankly I’m not convinced it stands up purely on its own.

“De Kabal” has an almost Doom feel about it (not sure if Black-Doom has been concocted yet – if not, here it is!) Slow pace paired with gloomy keyboard notes and coarse guitars contribute to a real feeling of despair and malice. “Sektarische Magie” picks up the pace again, sounding almost like a Grindcore sort of riff. Unfortunately, as is the case with much of the album, it drags on for far too long without really going anywhere. Towards the end we have more wailing which, in this case, does not add to the atmosphere.

“Het Vurig Gemaal” is, in many ways, indistinguishable from its fellow tracks. The synth outro/pre-outro section has become rather predictable by this point. There’s too much fill here. It’s a problem familiar to that in IRON MAIDEN’S A Matter Of Life And Death: the songs themselves aren’t bad, they just go on for far too long. Album closer “Over Zwarte Vlakten” ends the proceedings on a rather high note. It’s a great track, but beset with an issue present across the whole album: the bass is way too loud. Much of the dissonance in the guitar playing and synths is simply lost under the oppressive rumblings of Nillesen’s bass playing.

Overall, the music is pretty good, if let down slightly by a couple of stylistic and mixing issues. These guys are seasoned Black Metal veterans and so their ability to convey an aura of brooding threat is indisputable. However, some of this is lost under too many layers of that glorious Black Metal filth (is there such a thing as too much? Maybe… maybe.) Nonetheless the discerning metalhead will want to watch for future releases from KAECK to see how this sound develops. A solid effort for sure with lots of potential.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tegen Een Scharlaken Horizon
2. De Kwekeling
3. Het Zwarte Dictaat
4. De Kabal
5. Sektarische Magie
6. Het Vurig Gemaal
7. Over Zwarte Vlakten
Lineup:
Oovenmeester – Vocals
Jan Kruitwagen – Guitars, keyboard
Ruud Nillesen – Bass, drums
Record Label: Folter Records
     


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