Kronieken Uit De Nevel
Review by Felix on January 31, 2023.
Sometimes it seems as if the entire Dutch scene plays death metal and nothing else. I am really happy that this is not the fact. Some pretty strong units prefer black metal, for example Funeral Winds, Bezwering or Infinity (by the way, what about a new album?). Schavot joins the ranks of these bands. Kronieken Uit De Nevel is the second full-length of this on-man-project (the neighbours of the artist all play death metal). It is a coherently designed work with eight pretty similar tracks. This does not mean that the material sounds monotonous or boring. It's just a more or less typical black metal album, inspired by the Scandinavian role models of the early nineties.
Unfortunately, the production suffers a bit from sterility. It lends the material a high degree of density and does not reduce the effectiveness of the songs, nevertheless I wish it would be more organic. Anyway, the album does not fall victim to its sound, by far not. Schavot celebrates a solid number of ice cold leads, the nagging has some reverb on it and the insane drumming is rather too fast than too slow. Some parts dive into a deep black hole, others unfortunately only scratch the surface. 'Heksenwaan' houses both kind of sections, some which are okay, but just there, and some that really lead into the abyss.
Schavot's work is doubtlessly good. It breathes the spirit of the genre. Neither the atmospheric keyboards nor the occasionally occurring female vocals hurt the basic mood. On the other hand, I miss a higher degree of individuality. Schavot do not offer new aspects of the genre. Okay, this is not essential for an outstanding output, but to follow only the trodden paths of hundreds of other bands is also not the highest form of art. Don't get me wrong, the artist avoids any kind of fatal error, but it would have been good to give the songs a more compact design by omitting a run-of-the-mill part every now and then. As soon as the guitar gets some room to breathe, expressive sounds show up, but the intense high speed sections do not leave much a lot of space for fascinating details.
Breaks are rare, but there are enough to keep the material away from simplicity. 'Zwart Water', for example, profits from well arranged breaks and the dynamic 'Kerberos', a truly violent, ferocious and fanatic song, also draws its strengths from different parts which blend seamlessly with each other. Not to mention the fabulous closer which marks an amazing finale. All in all, I appreciate the authenticity of the artist's material and no one can blame him for a lack of dedication. The songwriting-skills are also okay, they just leave room for improvement. Black metal supporters do not do much wrong when listening to Kronieken Uit De Nevel, even though it will probably not enter their "best albums of all times" lists.
Rating: 7.3 out of 10877
Review by Michael on December 21, 2022.
“Lulu Reedfield – you are a witch convicted of having sex with a horny donkey and bewitching people with your chants and spells. You are condemned to burn at the stake so that no one can hear your harming voice anymore!”
Well, this might be a fictional judgment but quite similar to what witch trials might have been a few centuries ago. What does this have to do with Schavots second album Kronieken Uit De Nevel? Quite a lot because the lyrical topics deal with this and other Dutch folk tales like “The Flying Dutchman” or “Witte Wieven”. So again we will get to know some stories here that are (as the smart reader can see instantly) written in Dutch. I guess I have often enough told my opinion about the Dutch language and its predestination for hateful black metal so I won't repeat myself here.
So what about the music? Pretty Ulveresque were my first thoughts after a few seconds. A gentle female voice sings some soft tunes and the guitar melodies sound pretty much like Ulver did on “Bergtatt”. But this is just using some witchcraft to make you enter the foggy surroundings of the Dutch tales. Soon you'll find some pretty harsh but still melodic 2nd wave of black metal that sounds pretty much like the Scandinavian heroes Ulver, Satyricon, Enslaved and all these bands that were pioneering in those days (so there isn't too much new here in comparison to the first album Galgenbrok). So one may ask what is new here? Well, mastermind Floris has laid his focus on more melodies here and there and also the vocals aren't that one-dimensional as on the debut. Sometimes the vocals are double-layered and you can find some demonic grunts like the Brits from Bal-Sagoth did. In some parts the music is also more frantic and faster than on Galgenbrok and keyboards play a major role (like in 'Heksenwaan'). In 'Niet Alleen De Avond Walt' use of some dissonant structures leaves the listener in certainly uncomfortable und restless mood. I guess that Schavot left the comfort zone with songs like this a lot to open up some new grounds. The same goes for 'De Laatste Dans Gedanst' which starts with some very calm acoustic parts. This is very unusual for Schavot but matches perfectly to the title. But don't be afraid – the song turns out into a pretty fast tremolo picking inferno that won't be played in any traditional ballrooms worldwide.
Compared to its predecessor, (production-wise) Kronieken Uit De Nevel is on the same level which means that all is fine with the sound. Musically it has to grow (and it does with every listen) and needs a little bit more time to fully lighten up the initial spark. But if you take the time and you'll let yourself be affected by the album, you will like it for sure! Oh, by the way you have to take a look at the cover – you will find there some pretty cool little details that show how much in love with detail Floris is with this project.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10 burning Lulus877