If the difficulty to pronounce a band’s name is any indication as to how hard they rock, then Slechtvalk are definitely in the top 10. The Dutch heavy metal quintet’s new release; Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide, should be on your must-listen list for 2017, with the album itself boasting heavy riffs, songs about power and fighting, and a beat that you can’t help but bang your head to.
The fast and furious style you find on Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide just screams (sometimes literally) heavy metal. The style in which the band plays is like Iron Maiden on steroids; and that’s something everyone should check out. This is noticeable with the clean, and melodic riffs found within the album, such as on the second track “Betrayed”.
However, being a band from mainland Europe, the influence of black metal is never far and as such, pops up more than once on the album. The harshness and sheer barbarity of the blackened metal on Wandering Shadows is immense, a wall of noise that demands to be listened to.
“March To Ruin” features some of the heaviest, and most evil sounding metal this side of Norway. This is especially prominent through the chorus, a demonic chant from singer Shamgar, with the rest of the band joining him in song whilst also blasting each of their own respected instruments. Towards the end of the song, long, depressive riffs are played courtesy of guitarist Seraph, before transforming into a more “traditional” heavy metal riff, merging the two genres perfectly. This track personally steals the show for me and earned itself quite a few listens due to that.
The beauty of Wandering Shadows is that it can combine the classic metal sound with a more contemporary, heavier style. The final track, “Homebound” manages to achieve this perfectly, with the song beginning furiously, being introduced with blastbeats by resident drummer Grimbold. The song plays at a slow and sludgy pace before transforming part-way through, with clean vocals, melodic even, and the rhythm section playing at a standard pace. The transformation of sludgy, blackened metal to more traditional heavy metal, and back again is so seamless that you wouldn’t even notice it unless you listened out for it.
Truly something special, Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide should be your first favourite album of 2017, and if all of this wasn’t enough to convince you, the cover art is by Raymond Swanland, acclaimed Magic: The Gathering artist, meaning it looks good enough to annoy your mum.