Soaring, high above the tree lines, carried by the thermals, observing all that transpires far beneath. With ‘Valkengebed’, Oerheks takes us once more to the beloved home region of Kaggevinne in Flanders, Belgium. Mastermind H. already previewed in an interview that this third demo would be a more floating, almost impressionist approach to the music. This story is told through the eyes of the falcon and the heron, two species of birds that have long inhabited the region.
The first demo ‘Cagghenvinna’ translated the meandering river, lush forests, and flowing hills of Kaggevine to an adventurous atmospheric Black Metal sound, in which and adoration of the area seeped through the gripping melodies and atmosphere. A melancholic side of the story was highlighted on ‘Landschapsanachronismen’, focussing on the solitary oak that is the last remnant of the Prinsenbos forest that once stood where now only crop fields remain. ‘Valkengebed’ again has a slightly different theme and thereby musical formula. Those familiar with the other Oerheks releases will immediately find themselves immersed in a sound that once again has all the recognisable elements that interplay slightly differently. One thing that’s obvious is the more foreground role of the keyboards, while the vocals are much sparser and more pushed into the background. This leaves more room for the keyboards and guitar melodies to tell the tale and put the narrative a little bit more on the side. The result is music that feels more observant and distant, yet with a feeling of exhilaration. The melodies are present and catchy, but slightly less meandering, presenting a somewhat calmer and straightforward sound that fits with an all-seeing eye, a story that focusses more on the flight than on the individual elements.
The two song, ‘Valkengebed’ and ‘Blauwe Vleugels’, both clock in at over 11 minutes and differ from each other slightly. In the title track, the calm strumming that precedes the swelling drums appear to symbolize the falcon taking flight, with the joining keyboards sketching a sense of floating, almost as if they represent the clouds in the sky. Through an intense drum pace and sharp guitar riff the song gains momentum, breaking into a more elated and admiring section that to me is best described as a feeling of being at home. Ecstatic and dreamlike, a gorgeous melody slowly fades while keyboards lead us into a short break with bird sounds before a truly mesmerizing guitar melody carries us along on the final, midtempo, part of the flight (and it still echoes inside my head for weeks now). The second song ‘Blauwe Vleugels’ takes the crown as longest Oerheks composition released to date, clocking in at a little over 15 minutes. Much like the previous song, the song calmly builds before all instruments join into a medium paced portion. Slowly, singing guitar notes and an increasingly more nervous drum patterns announce the coming tempo increase, in which subtle guitar melodies guide the song while vocals remain distant, tucked away in the blanket of the keyboards. Instrumental for extended periods, the song is more typified by ambient sections on top of the by the captivating guitar melodies and soothing keyboards. This allows more more breathing room to immerse yourself in the emotion of the song without being led as much by vocals or lyrics.
Three demos down the line, Oerheks still manages to enchant us with the tales of Kaggevinne. Once again with slightly different nuances, H. continues to tell the tale of his beloved home region with great conviction, memorable melodies and a warm atmosphere that takes the listener to the skies, far away from the people that inhabit the region and to the realm of the true inhabitants: the streaming Demer river, the centuries-old trees and the wildlife that are the true rulers of Kaggevinne.