After last year’s scorching ‘Vergeet De Eeuwenoude Haat Nooit’ demo (which was also released on cassette tape by Babylon Doom Cult Records early this year), the anonymous Ceremoniële Walging continues to this first full-length that bears the unforgiving title ‘Ingekankerd’. There is no direct translation for this, but ‘Cancered In’ is probably the closest, in the sense of something that is ineradicable.
The Dutch titles leave nothing to the imagination anyway. Titles like ‘Lekkende Lichamen’ (‘Leaking Bodies’) and ‘Langzaam Zal De Eeuwigheid Sterven’ (‘Slowly Eternity Will Die’) speak volumes and fit the melancholic and morbid Black Metal like a glove. As on the demo, Ceremoniële Walging sounds like a trance-inducing ritual, with the monotonous nature of the music still the main ingredient. The production seems even slightly more dim than on the previous recordings. It is certainly not an exercise full of variety and dynamics, but that is exactly where the strength lies. The dank sound, repetitive patterns and distant vocals give the music that hypnotic character. Not only the riffs, but also the vocals sound a little less sharp, making them even more difficult to discern from the great dissonance of it all. A fiercer and much sharper production worked very well on Nordgeist’s debut, for instance, in which the vocals in particular immensely stood out. Incidentally, this darker production does lead to the fact that, although I’m not entirely sure, keyboards do seem to be used, something I also doubted on the demo recordings. Whatever that is, keyboard or not, there is a buzzing melody in the background that further enhances the melancholic character. After a good half-hour, it’s over, once again the tape seems to have gone by like one lengthy song; where at the dying away of the last note, (the last tiny bit of) joie de vivre is also taken away from you.
Personally, I liked the demo recordings slightly better, mainly because of the brighter sound of that first offering. This gave it a sharper and more penetrating character and with that it had just a bit more impact. Nevertheless, ‘Ingekankerd’ is a strong debut album that I hope will reach a bit more people than the mere 50 souls who were able to get their hands on the cassette tape version.