in de Mond van Het Onbekende Wacht Een Oceaan
Independent/Heidens Hart Records (Reissue)
Seeming to favour demos over other types of releases, in de Mond van Het Onbekende Wacht Een Oceaan is Murw‘s 5th demo release, before being signed onto Heidens Hart Records for the remastering and reissuing of this critically acclaimed album.
While the album starts off with the cliche introductory sound of wood burning, with music playing in the background, this is, as Heidens Hart Records has promised on their promotional flyer, no easy listening as the rest of the album will go to show. With the fire still burning, a raw guitar tone starts playing in the background, marking the start of the album before the sounds of crackling wood fades out, making some listeners dismissing them as just another of those usual old school black metal bands. However, the band surprises listener with a sudden slowdown in the music in the middle of Vuilnisbelt, going into a heavily keyboard driven section. The keyboards may sound slightly out of place from the rest of the band yet this is in good effect, providing the depressing and almost haunting atmosphere in the music, leaving listeners with a heavy heart and an ominous feeling.
The short opening track is but a taste of what’s to come next, with 3 songs hovering around the 9 minutes mark, which could prove a challenge for those who are happier and more comfortable with their conventional 4-5 minute songs, yet Murw is able to keep listeners engaged with their songwriting. It is also on tracks such as Shape A Suffering Stature And Exclaim It that test the band’s abilities, with the band breaking into softer rock-ish sections, keeping the music varied and almost reminding listeners of bands such as LIK. Floris R. Kerkhoff’s vocal style is a shriek of despondency, at times backed by low gurgled growls, adding to the overall fullness of the vocals and definitely creating a more fulfilling experience of the music. On top of playing a rhythmic role, the guitars are not forgotten as they are given lead spots to shine, with haunting guitar solos that will send a chill down one’s spine. However, at times the guitar lines do get a tad repetitive, yet this could have been the point of the band’s music, leaving listeners in a hypnotic state and causing the loss of a sense of time.
Geen Weg Meer Terug Dus Recht Door Zee again leaves the listener in a confused state of mind (and once again proves their songwriting capabilities), with a soothing and calming guitar riff and a jazzy drum beat at the background and vocalist Floris wrecking chaos on top of the contrasting calm beneath. The furious spoken vocals at the background further adds to the chaotic state, messing with the listener’s head. The ability to combine such vast influences reminds listener of bands such as Opeth or Ikuinen Kaamos, with a rawer edge and a darker, blackened sound. The doom metal references are obvious on the songs of Murw, not only from the various passages in the music, but even down to the fuzzy guitar tone that the band prefers. In Kind Dedication again throws listeners a surprise, with a (mostly) instrumental track littered with acoustic passages and whispered vocals, soothing yet constantly testing the limits of the listener’s sanity with the psychedelic sound effects and sudden, tortured screams of Floris towards the end of the track.
While Murw‘s music is nothing particularly experimental, the band has managed to fuse the various old-school influences in their music nicely and in de Mond van Het Onbekende Wacht Een Oceaan is a good specimen for their approach towards black metal. The ability to have different stylistic approaches for every song is interesting to say the least, and will definitely keep one entertained for the 50 minute runtime of the album.