Fluisteraars, the two-man black metal spearhead from Bennekom is back after more than four years with their third full-length, named “Bloem”; the title translates to “Flower” which you can also see on the very unusual cover that conveys a bright, colorful emotion and thus contrasts the stark songs strongly. But flowers are also the theme of the record, as the five tracks revolve around folk tales in which flowers play an important role as an image for both birth and decay.
Something that might strike a lot of listeners directly is the rather short length of the record with only 33 minutes and five tracks. Before “Bloem”, most people identified Fluisteraars with long and captivatingly spiraling tracks, but here no song crosses the eight-minute-barrier. Another unusual thing on this record is the way that the duo is painting the walls of their construction as we not only get the regular metal instrumentation administered by Mink Koops; no, we also get some very intriguing horn parts delivered by producer Thomas Cochrane that give the songs a very warm feeling. The listener might feel transported back to the times, when psychedelia and folk were able to enrich metal music by adding a western movie-like warmth without being cheesy. “Bloem” is certainly a step forward for the band because the evolution to dark psychedelic metal is happening without any mishaps and therefore the short running time is better than an album with five awesome tracks and some fillers in between. These five incantations definitely redefine the duo and gives the audience a new perspective on what is possible in modern black metal. Because this still is black metal, even if there might not be blastbeats lurking behind every corner or hellish screams filling every nook of a Gothic cathedral. It might become clear that the stormy, riffing is even more important for black metal than either of those.
The last three tracks (“Eeuwige Ram”, “Vlek” and “Maanruine”) might be one of the most awesomest triplets I heard in quite a while, and especially the last track with its mantra-like repetitions and the vocals by the Geldersch Man’s Choir is a very fitting finale for a record bound to leave you speechless. It’s Gelderland all over again.