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Vetrar Draugurinn – Hinterlands

Vetrar Draugurinn
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 20 May 2019, 4:53 AM

 VETRAR DRAUGURINN is a Netherlands Gothic Doom band and “Hinterlands,” is their first full length album.  The album gives off strong vibes of Gothic bands like THEATRE OF TRAGEDY and TRISTANIA.   “Hinterlands,” isn’t an album of immediate gratification—it requires several listens and the songs take time to come to life.  Part of the reason for this is, the album isn’t exactly energetic.  True the nature of the genre, nothing here moves very fast and it is all quite hopeless sounding.  The other part is the album isn’t really focused on individual instruments.  All the band members, vocalist included, are talented but don’t display any amazing musical skills that will blow you away.

None of these things are a bad thing. On the contrary, it allows for the band to concentrate fully on their overall song writing and presentation skills.  Thus, this album is extremely atmospheric and often times quite emotional.  This album is more about evoking a certain mood and it succeeds in doing so rather well.  Unfortunately, that also means many of the tracks sound a bit too familiar to each other which is one of the trappings of Gothic Doom. The title, and opening, track, “Hinterlands,” is laden with melodies from the lead guitar that lead the songs to their destination, much like KATATONIA often does.  While the lead guitar brings out the band’s Gothic side, the crunchy rhythm guitar lays down their Doom aspect.  The result is a sound that doesn’t lean too hard on each sub-genre, so fans of either will find the songs enjoyable.

Vocalist Marjan isn’t quite as ethereal in her approach as some of the aforementioned bands—which is fine because it gives her the ability to concentrate on a very robust vocal performance that stays out in front of the music rather than blending in too well.  The ending melodies hang in the air like ghosts, creating a haunting atmosphere without being too corny. However, some of the tracks are a bit more riff-based particularity the shorter ones. In “The Wolves At Our Door,”  the guitars are simple but serviceable especially with the drums complimenting them well enough.  The chorus is catchy as well so this song is a pretty well rounded to be under five minutes.  Some of the longer tracks could do well to had been shortened themselves, as a few go on a minute or so longer than needed.

Forever Locked Within,” is a poignant song with a heavy emotional weight behind it, one that bears heavy emotional weight.  Despite its beginnings as a ballad, the heavier parts halfway through are introduced successfully and actually make the song even better. “Bleak Earth,” is a nice little song because it breaks up the monotony as some of the songs do blend in together.  The tempo here is a bit faster and the bass sticks out more. All in all, “Hinterlands,” is an above average Gothic Doom album that has a lot to offer the listener, just don’t expect anything to blow you away.  It is a much more subtle experience that demands your attention if you are to get anywhere with it.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Hinterlands
2. I Am
3. Second
4. The Wolves at Our Door
5. Mother of Northern Skies
6. Death Will Come for Us
7. Forever Locked Within
8. The Narrow Path
9. Wanderer
10. Bleak Earth
11. Twelfth Night
Jim van de Kerkhof - Drums, Percussion
Eric Hazebroek - Guitars (Lead), Mellotron
Marjan Welman - Vocals
Arjan Heijden - Bass
Thomas Cochrane - Guitars, Trombone, Trumpet
Record Label: Painted Bass Records


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