Review: The Nefarious Order (Split Vinyl)

Cirith Gorgor / Yaotzin / Fenris / Weltschmerz – The Nefarious Order (Zwaertgevegt Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

When speaking about Dutch Black Metal scene, one name cannot be forgotten. Zwaertgevegt has a long history of supporting the small bands coming from the Netherlands. The long list of their releases is mostly comprised of tapes, however, here we have a 12” vinyl with four names pressed onto the black plastic. Needless to say, all four of them come from the same country, so you have a chance to get a good glimpse into the often overlooked Dutch scene, for the price of a single record. Trust me, from what I’ve heard on these 27 minutes it is well-worth your time and money. Also, try and look further than this split LP, there are some real gems hiding in the ‘low lands’. But, back to “The Nefarious Order”.

What ties these bands together is (obviously) Black Metal, as a basis for their work. From there on, these bands tread on similar, but not quite the same paths. They are mostly placing the emphasis of their creation on atmosphere, but the means of achieving that goal differ among them.

Side ‘A’ of the record is opened by Cirith Gorgor, a 23 year old band that also has a new album (their 7th) released this year via Hammerheart Records (another Dutch label to look for). As with all the others, they are presented with a single (yet lengthy) track. “Der Untergang III” starts as a regular blasting Black Metal inferno, but over the course of 8 minutes evolves into a more melodic side, especially with nice lead guitar work. Vocal arrangements (and the voice itself to some extent) remind me of Cradle of Filth, which should be a compliment as the Brits have a way of making their vocal lines very dynamic. The song has a certain flow bringing the listener to the epic crescendo at the very finale with choral outro. Good job for the veterans, not that it should be doubted with such experience behind them.

Next up is another old-timer. Yaotzin is counting their 24th year of existence, but contrary to their aforementioned country mates, have taken their time recently when it comes to the recordings. Now, a track simply called “Lucifer” brings instant connotations to the raw and primitive side of Black Metal. While the track does start on a similar note, Yaotzin progresses through the track to a slower, melancholic side which is bringing resemblance to early Deathspell Omega, whilst using a pattern more than copying the French. A nice surprise, to say the least. It should be interesting to follow the band on the next output.

Fenris is just a bit younger than the bands on side ‘A’, but still an old act. However, their discography is much shorter. Their track, “Ertha”, starts almost like a power ballad and evolves from there. They are taking us on a long journey comprising of a couple of different segments. Between merciless aggressive pummeling, often underlined by a classical Heavy Metal solo guitar, you can find more atmospheric parts releasing a dark aura that haunts the song through. All the parts are carefully connected to each other so there is a natural stream of thoughts running from start to finish.

Closing the split is the youngest of the bunch, Weltschmerz, with ‘just’ ten years behind. “The Future of an Illusion” is based upon an early Thrashing Black Metal feel but, as the title suggests, surges towards the future, bringing along slower, marching tempos and disharmonic riffing. As such, it brings to one’s mind visions of a bare, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Apart of being the shortest track on the LP, it fits perfectly along with the trio of bands hailing from the dark past of the Dutch underground.

As much as being a ‘scene report’ of sorts, “The Nefarious Order” is a clear sign that there are very good bands hailing from just south of Scandinavia. Whilst the light still shines brightly on everything that comes out of Norway, Sweden and the rest, the Netherlands are still deep in the shadow. With quality displayed on this vinyl, it is the high time to change it.


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