Oerheks - Landschapsanachronismen (Amor Fati)

I spent a lot of time wringing my hands over Oerheks' absence from this blog’s obscure annals, having only discovered their 2022 debut Cagghenvinna at the turn of the year. This new EP, Lanschapsanachronismen, is fortuitously timed – I can put my mind at rest and give this vital new black metal (BM) band the attention they deserve.

Oerheks begin where their prior work left off, siphoning the Romantic inclinations of fellow Batavophones into a more desperate furore, with forceful vocals heaving amidst a stirring and determined melody. The moody passages of “Een Eenzaat in Het Landschap” offer a far murkier take on Fluisteraars’ long-form and atmospheric BM, ditching kosmische vibes for kvlty viciousness just as they reject the sunny, poppy-strewn fields of Bloem’s cover for their own windswept and overcast plains. That isn’t to say Oerheks aren’t thoroughly intoxicating in their own right – they may be dark, but they aren’t dull. “Een Oude Wijsheid Werd hier Geveld” is thrillingly turbulent, opening with an anguished scream and an overpowering hum, a twisted detour on Wandelaars’ droning journeys. Grim melodies abound in ways that make even the tortured works of Terzij de Horde seem almost jaunty in comparison. But Oerheks are too wise to be totally relentless, and they litter this EP with spoken word passages and sickly acoustic sections, providing some reprieve from the sleet of trem without ever overstaying their welcome. And after each interval, the drumming grows only more frenetic, the kit shuddering beneath layers of distortion and jangly guitar melodies. This classy yet vigorous display is a fitting foundation to one of the most dreich projects to emerge from the Low Countries’ considerable font of blackened talent. Don’t make the mistake I did – keep an eye on them.