I’m not in any way vampiric, except for the occasional bloodbath for the skin to prevent aging, but my preference for is for hours when the sun disappears for the day, and the darkness spreads across my section of the Earth. There’s nothing wrong with the daytime, and that’s honestly the easiest time to take walks, but I feel most secure in the darkness, maybe because it’s harder to see me.
Eating from the diseased fruit tree that is the early 1990s black metal scene, Dutch crushers Doodswens (their name translates to “death wish”) unleash their debut full-length offering “Lichtvrees” onto the world. The title means “fear of light,” and perhaps that’s one of the reasons this record resonated with me so much. Sort of like a subconscious guide, this eight-track, 36-minute offering drips with panic and destruction, but it’s not entirely behooved to the sounds of three decades ago because they have their own bloody DNA to smear into the mix. The band—vocalist/guitarist Fraukje van Burg, drummer and Inge van der Zon—released a demo and a split before their first full record, and they deliver fury, mystery, and a lashing back at the daytime hours, the enemy of these menacing spirits.
“In Mijn Bloed” buzzes as it opens before the shrieks rip in, and the playing totally devastates, leaving your skeleton shaking. A melodic gust matches the intensity of the track, the shrieks reign, and blistering violence melts away, into the very strange “Onplaatsbaren.” This is more or less an interlude built on street sounds and a man endlessly ranting and in apparent pain, which is pretty uncomfortable to hear by design, paving the way toward “Zwarte Staar” that starts with boots crunching and a clean, reflective opening. The track takes its time cinching in its claws, but once it does, the assault is fully under way with you no match to stop it. Grisly buzzing and vocals that scrape the mind make a formidable unit as the guitars jangle later, and suddenly we’re submerged in cold waters. The vocals pelt hard, the pace hammers, and the track ends in bloodshed. “Eindzicht” brings sweltering noise and a static storm, moving through riffs and complicated melody that eats away at you. Darkness wells as the pain increases, the guitars grind and serve up misery, and the darkness spreads, plummeting the temperature. The shrieks then awaken as the playing enters a blinding gaze, slipping into psychosis.
“IJsheiligen” starts by chilling your flesh as a female voice speaks, feeling detached and horrifying. Black melodies rise and the shrieks destroy, opening veins and spilling into “Het Zwartewaterland” that’s dreamy and weird at first but then completely comes unglued. The playing rumbles viciously, lathering in total blackness as the drums decimate, and the playing feels like a drug entering your system and permanently altering your reality. The title track dawns with riffs blasting through and the shrieks pounding away, leaving you very little room for safety. The playing blends into warping chaos, and if you feel like the room is spinning and you need something to steady yourself, you’re not alone. That continues as the track numbs your mind, slipping into brief outro cut “Lichtvrees II” that sits amid quiet guitars, chirping, and speaking that fades with the horizon.
Doodswens may have designs on reviving what made the sound of ’90s black metal so penetrating, and they certainly achieve that on “Lichtvrees,” but it goes so much further than that. The psychological edge, the claws that split your mind cannot be underestimated, as those elements can leave you gutted and shaking. There’s a lot more going on here than mere black metal heyday revival, and if you sell this record short based on that, you will walk away from his record shrouded in nightmares.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/DoodswensOfficial/
For more on the label, go here: https://svartrecords.com/