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Ved Buens Ende - Written In Waters CD (album) cover

WRITTEN IN WATERS

Ved Buens Ende

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.16 | 52 ratings

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Pnoom!
4 stars Rating: B+

Extreme metal isn't one of those genres typically thought of as beautiful, and that's a sad oversight on the listeners' parts, since some of the most beautiful music ever released is extreme metal, particularly black metal. There are some of the more obvious examples, like Wolves in the Throne Room, who craft long songs inspired by the forest, but even the most brutal of black metal, such as Ulver's Nattens Madrigal, contains distinct beauty behind the guitar fuzz. When it comes to Ved Buens Ende, this beauty is well pronounced and readily apparent to the discerning ear. Mixing the dark, oppressive atmospheres of Univers Zero with mind-melting black metal riffs and drumming that touches on both jazz and black metal blastbeats, Ved Buens Ende play metal that's heavy enough to keep the dedicated metalhead involved, but which doesn't beat the listener over the head with its metallic edge, meaning that even those who don't see much worthwhile in metal will find much to enjoy in their music.

Ved Buens Ende only ever managed one full length, but they gave it everything they had, and the result is a masterpiece. The sound envelops the mind during listening, creating a wave that washes over the listener, riding a riff until it crashes into a fantastic climax. These riffs are repeated enough to give the song continuity, but are never allowed to overstay their welcome, instead shifting when the flow of the CD demands it. As such, nothing seems forced; everything is relaxed and reasonably easy-going (yes, even during the heaviest, most brutal sections of the CD).

What is perhaps most incredible about Written in Waters is its pacing. Some of the riffs blaze by at a hundred miles an hour, but the CD never seems rushed. It takes its team to get where it's going (but, as I've mentioned, never too much time). The result is that the listener is constantly riveted while listening. At no point does the listener have to wonder how the CD got to where it is, since every step is clear along the way.

Of course, despite all of that, Written in Waters still remains an avant-garde metal CD, and that means that it's no easy listen. The vocals range from beautiful to black metal shrieks to avant-garde moans, and they help to keep the listener off-guard, rather than letting him (or her) ignore the music due to predictability. Also, the juxtaposition of jazz drumming with blazing metal riffs is sure to catch more than a few listeners napping, at least at first. If nothing else, it helps Written in Waters avoid sinking into metal clichés.

As far as individual tracks go, there isn't much to say, since all of them are reasonably similar (both in sound and in their extraordinarily high quality), but "I Sang for the Swans" and "Remembrance of Things Past" are my favorites. Those two do the best job of utilizing the best aspects of the CD while entirely avoiding the weaker aspects of it (which are incredibly rare, fortunately). Other than that, all I have left to do is to assure you that this is indeed a masterpiece, one of the best metal CDs in recent years. Extremely recommended.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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