Review: Desolate Fields – Past Apocalyptic Dates – Release: 01-10-2016.
It’s been a little over two years ago since I first saw this band play live. It was on a Thursday in a blues bar and hardly any audience was there. The band still had a way to go, but I definitely saw a high potential.
Each next time I saw the band play they had grown tremendously so I was really looking forward to finally getting their debut album in my hands and it might just be the best debut album, if not best albums of 2016!
Desolate Fields is:
Jochem Lodder – Vocals & keys
Alex Weisbeek – Guitar & backing vocals
Gerben Getkate – Guitar
Martijn van Beek – Bass
Mark Geurds – Drums
Past Apocalyptic Dates
Melodic Post Black Metal is how the band style themselves, but as soon as you heard the actual album you’ll recognise that it’s just a convenient label as there is so much more to this album.
With ‘Ramblings of a Stone Man’ we open up with some very depressive keys before the rest of the band starts rolling in and we get a major rumbling sound that would make any funeral doom metal band proud! Throw in the soft melodic interlude with melodic melancholic black metal soon following and you have a very condensed slice of what the band has to offer.
‘Stained Papers’ gives us our first ‘real’ song and what a way to go! High quality melodic black metal and the first thing that really stands apart is just how perfectly balanced nearly everything is. The vocals do get drowned a little bit, which is very unfortunate since both the growls and the clean vocals are superb (with the clean vocals reminding me of Stanne from Dark Tranquillity), but after a while I did get used to it and I was able to get everything in a perfect audible balance, although there is a lot happening.
‘Enviro’ takes its time over a nearly eight minute spanning journey. It starts off pretty softly for the first two minutes with a major focus on the bass guitar before heading into quite the technical fury. I’m actually reminded of another older band from around my home town called Pre Mortem, which had kind of the same vibe on their album. And since I love that album this is definitely meant as praise! During the song the band keeps going back and forth between the fury and the more mellow parts which makes for a great exercise in headbanging tempos.
‘Vultures’ kicks it up several notches by diving into a more classic black metal sound. There’s still enough brain in there, but a large part of this song is full metal brawn. It really makes for some nice variety as so far this album is more diverse halfway than a lot of albums are in total! Speaking of diverse, ‘A Visible Mass of Vapour’ really gives you a breathing point with some excellent melancholic soundscaping. I’m not lying when I say that this song could easily fit on the upcoming Alcest album!
Probably my fave track on this album is ‘Hollow Earth’. It starts off slow with a lot of melody and gradually works its way up into a crescendo with each layer of music giving you another layer of goose bumps. It isn’t until halfway that we finally hear some vocals and then the song turns into a different beast, almost literally. For me this song really captures the essence of the band the most.
With the title track we get another great compilation of what the band is all about. Darkness and power, softness and melodies, great keys and solos; it’s all in there. With ‘Blister’ we slowly descend to the end of the album and near the end you really feel everything coming down. At a first glance this song might seem less powerful than the ones before it, but it is because of the feeling of closure that this song really shuts down the album in a perfect way.
I have seen the band grow tremendously in the past two years and finally being album to hear a full album really is a treat. This band knows how to write and play engaging songs and with their shows they really take you to another world. So far this album is set to be self-released, but I can’t imagine record companies not lining up to sign them when it gets out.
Score: 4.9 out of 5
1. Ramblings of a Stone Man
2. Stained Papers
5. A Visible Mass of Vapour
6. Hollow Earth
7. Past Apocalyptic Dates
Text by: Robert Popovic