Review: ĀTER “Vullighied” [Sliptrick records]

Review: ĀTER “Vullighied” [Sliptrick records]

- in Reviews

For the first time in its 23 years history the Belgian black metal band Āter has released its first material ever, the EP “Vullighied”. This year Sliptrick Records re-released it in different versions with one extra bonus track, which considerably differs from the other material on this record. So, to the delight of all fans of the Wesley Beernaert’s projects, this EP finally reached their ears.

Āter has a sad and long story, and for many years the fans were deprived of its music. First, Wesley hadn’t much time for his solo project, because he worked as a session vocalist with many bands on tours. In 2004 he planned to recruit a full line-up, but in reality it was only him and session guitarist Mantorok, with whom he recorded EP and wrote 12 more songs. But then after the flood all material was destroyed. After many years Wesley accidentally found an old hard drive and he was able to recover four songs, he remastered them, rewrote bass and guitar parts, so the EP “Vullighied” was ready, and in 2019 it was officially released.

The album is sung in 1300-year-old ancient flemmish dialect, now endangered, with lyrical themes, concerning the abuse of the elite against the common folk. And the black-and-white cover art perfectly complements this concept. The sound is dirty and raw, just as the old school blacksters prefer. And the songs are canonically precise to support all the black metal dogmas of the 90s. Wesley has a good portion of experience to sing in various black metal bands (for example, Lemuria), but his own band is oriented on a more pure black metal perception.

Every song is based on one repeating primitive guitar riff, and structurally the songs are fast with slower choruses with characterizing rapid blast-beats and solid screaming. Wesley screams without experiments, indulging the emotions and the malice to make the lyrics more aggressive and the music heavier. He often sings slower than the given tempo (like in the song “De strontroaper van Abjille”) or rather reads, than sings (like in “Valkennacht”, where he also uses the clean vocals, making it more atmospheric). The songs are integrated and harmonic with juicy screams, but because of the raw sound, every instrument sounds a bit blurry, but it is very common in black metal genre. Only the last bonus song “Diatomacious Ooze” doesn’t fit the concept, and it is written by brothers Zoran and Baruch van Bellegem (from the band Satyrus). It has alarming synthetic soundscapes, symphonic elements, growling, as well as clean and emotional singing, and ambient outro. It strongly differs from another classical black metal songs, but it is notable with its originality and non-traditional vision on black metal music.

Āter exists for many years, but only last year the metal scene was able to hear its music, but the history should not be lost. Now the new era for Āter as a band begins, and with some help and support from old school black metal fans and lovers of Wesley’s projects, it is quite possible to await from the band some new stuff.

Release date: March 24th, 2020

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