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Netherlands – Severance

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 March 2023, 6:58 AM

From Bandcamp, “formed by Timo Ellis in 2010, NETHERLANDS magic lies in the contrasts it sets up: falsetto vocals, odd time signatures, and haunting hooks transform their monstrous power into weirdly delicious and dynamic songs. The overall effect is not unlike that of SWANS and DIO playing simultaneously, atop an actual mountain of MDMA.” The new album has ten songs. “Sicarrivallio” is the first. The opening tones are slow, and guttural. Forget everything you know about conventional song structures, because this harrowing track breaks the mold. The vocals are grunts that come in and out of the shadows, and the music is frightening. I feel like I woke up in the middle of a nightmare that continues while I am awake.

“Swimming Dog” has a more traditional song structure, but low guitar scratches, electronica, and a heavy, weighted feeling permeate the sound. This is pretty unique music, that is for sure. “Omisha” has an almost jovial groove, and clean vocals that are delivered in a JANE’S ADDICTION sort of way. A crushing density hangs ever-present in the background. “Animal Insults” features impossibly low down-tuned guitars, amidst a steady thread of hefty electronica. This is some very odd music, but so far, I can appreciate their craft. The title track begins with some fancy leads before it settles into a fuzzy, low, and slow grind. The vocals are the exact opposite at first…dreamy cleans with a touch of psychedelica, but harsher vocals follow. “Blue Whale” has another unconventional structure, with heavy riffs and ethereal vocals. The two don’t connect very well, but that is the point. This album grows weirder as it moves along. “Goons” has a very low bottom end with animated, angry vocals, that are almost rapped. Eerie, mind-altering sound occupy the background.

“Glow Stick” is another short song, with chaotic leanings. The introductory tones sound like a video game, bit what follows is a very messy structure, with pure hate and rage. “Silencio” is a slower song with dreamy, and ambient qualities. The vocalist has some down off his high in the previous songs and is just content to sing lightly. “Celia’s Mansion” closes the album. Clean guitars with heavy vibrato lead off the song. A heavier riff slams in, covering the song in darkness. Overall, this was one of the strangest albums that I have heard, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. The band pushes through barriers of what the average Metal listener considers a song, with a bevy of different sounds. Perhaps the best part of the album is that the listener can decide for themselves what this oddly pleasing music is, exactly.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sicarrivallio
2. Swimming Dog
3. Omisha
4. Animal Insults
5. Severance
6. Blue Whale
7. Goons
8. Glow Stick
9. Silencio
10. Celia's Mansion
Timo Ellis – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, All Instruments
Damien Shane Moffitt – Drums
Josh Musto – Synthbass
Michael Dafferner – Additional Vocals
Record Label: Svart Records


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