Monday, June 24, 2024
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Label: Zwaertgevegt

Date: April 24th, 2024

Their new album bearing the title “IV” must mean Walg is at least a decade old band. The fact that leads me to believe I’m dealing with a mature and quite distinguished group and that the resulting recording must be in accordance with the age. The hopes are up!

However, investigation into the band brought along the intimidating conclusion. They are a melodic black metal (subtle warning) duo (thread with care), established in 2021 (red flags, alarms, laser beams…). Fourth full length record in just three years of existence… This was never supposed to be any good. Simple as that. Must be one for the junkyard. Nobody is that creative!

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks! How in the world are the Walg boys able to come up with an album like this? I haven’t heard the predecessors and, right now, I’m afraid to do so because they have to be lesser introductions into “IV”. If they’re not… Phew, world beware!

Anyway, let’s start dissecting the album. At the very beginning, the verdict the band members themselves stuck to their creation is confirmed. Walg does perform a melodic kind of black metal, albeit with embellishment in the form of symphonic layering. Still, the band retains enough weight and aggression, so as to reminisce Old Man’s Child in their glory days. Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth could also be decent points of reference, back from the days when they kept a firm foothold in traditional black metal. But those are the obvious ones, even stated as influences by the duo themselves. There’s more to Walg than instantly meets the ear.

Namely, I’m tempted to call out certain folklore motifs on “IV”. Not just in the occasional usage of nonstandard instruments, such as bagpipes, but there are quite a few guitar sections which carry a less than usual atmosphere. I’m definitely not too knowledgeable about Dutch traditional music, so I can’t pinpoint the possibility of being influenced, but I believe I felt it. There are even moments I can tie down to Finntroll’s opus, though these are few and far between and are unlikely to form a considerably influential force.

Whatever the actual state may be, all the sorting according to a genre or two falls somewhat to the background of that which makes “IV” such an impact. Its main strength lays in its dynamics and dramatic development of atmosphere that encompasses it. To the point where it seems almost cinematic in its delivery, the record exudes adrenaline while displaying disgust (Walg in Dutch language) towards the humanity which fails in being human.

The overall feeling of the album is only emphasized by the general catchiness of its pieces and the arrangements which filed them according to necessity of crafting enchanting moments of black magic. Songs like “Wanneer Het Glas Breekt” (check out the amazing video below), “Als Een Korrel Zand” or “Ongezien” are the perfect examples of Walg’s capabilities for bombastic and monumental black metal, though the rest don’t fall far behind.

Somehow, Walg retained a freedom of expression within the confines of black metal. Not shying away from keyboards, clean voice, acoustic passages or even bagpipes, the band still sounds as vicious as any of their counterparts. At moments they’ve even adopted relatively modern solutions, stemming from the Swedish melodic death metal of the new millennium, but even that is still coated in strict black metal, only adding to diversity of “IV”.

Judging by all that was written above, this record must appeal to black metal fans throughout. And now everyone’s expecting I go for the downsides. I must “disappoint” you. Honestly, there’s no low point to this record. It even gets better with every next spin. Walg filled it to the brim with details you might miss in the first one, but they appear in the third or fourth. For instance, I call your full attention to the second one, “Vuurdoop” and the phenomenal stream of great ideas that lasts over four minutes.

Basically, there is no chance to dislike “IV”. What’s more, there’s a reasonable assumption that Walg may climb quite high on your list of favorite black metal bands.


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