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Gärgäntuäh / Kastijder – Föltrit / Reinigend Vuur

gärgäntuäh / kastijder – föltrit / reinigend vuur


With the demos ‘Dödenlicht’ and ‘Kastijder’, New Era Productions had released two gems from the Dutch Black Metal underground courtesy of the bands Gärgäntuäh and Kastijder respectively. Both recordings had an authentic sound influenced by the symphonic Black Metal of the stalwarts of the mid 90’s Norwegian scene and the likeness with the ‘First Spell’ and ‘Second Spell’ records by Gehenna and Dimmu Borgir’s earliest work was particularly uncanny. As a match made in hell, both bands now unite on a split LP that was unleashed in 2023.

On their ‘Dödenlicht’ demo Gärgäntuäh had reaped praise for the nostalgic Nordic Black Metal in the vein of old Enslaved, Satyricon, Gehenna and Dimmu Borgir. The band, consisting of Forgotten on strings and vocals and Unknown on drums, synths and guitar, quickly followed the demo up with their debut full-length ‘Urmystyk’. The style on that album hadn’t changed much but showed a little bit more variation in terms of pace and a more folky emphasis. When it comes to ‘Föltrit’, Gärgäntuäh’s contribution to this split, the band presents their most relentless side, with all of the tracks (except the folky outro ‘Als de stilte fluistert’) showing an increased sense of urgency in pace. That does not go at the cost of the symphonic elements, but these take a modest place in the mix, submissive to the raw guitar sound, raspy vocals and blazing drums. Instead, they accentuate the folky eerie atmosphere of the music together with the spoken clean vocals. In other words, Gärgäntuäh stays close to what made their previous material so authentic and given the conviction and quality that they put into their craft, that is nothing but good news.

Like Gärgäntuäh, Kastijder’s first effort was a glorious callback to the earliest days of Norwegian symphonic Black Metal, recalling memories of old Gehenna and Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Stormblåst’. Now reduced to the duo of Imperiosus on vocals, strings and synthesizers and drummer Wolfram, the follow-up material was initially released as a promo. That was spread out only to a limited extent, but the material now found its way to the ‘Reinigend Vuur’ side of the split. While ‘Kastijder’ was a catchy melodic mid paced Black Metal demo in which the synthesizer played a large role, things are a little bit different on the latest material of the band. That mostly has to do with the synthesizers which plays a decidedly more modest role. The emphasis on catchy melodies is still strong however, and there is generally more room for changes in rhythm and groove and an increase in tempo, revealing a somewhat more Folk-based layer to the sound as well. Having said that, ‘Doodshoofd Herrezen’ does have a more prominent place for synthesizers, and combined with the catchy melodies and groove is possibly the best song the band has produced thus far. Similarly, ‘Mars Van De Kastijder’ is not only epic, but it shows all the authentic charm in which the band professes its adoration of the old Norwegian Black Metal scene in full glory.

More material by bands that made a splash with their demos is always good news and Gärgäntuäh and Kastijder do not disappoint. While both bands detach themselves a bit more from that early Gehenna sound and add a bit more haste and ferocity in their Nordic Black Metal, they certainly haven’t lost any of that authentic sound that made their arrival so welcomed.


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