Black metal's predilection for the murky and obscure is no secret. The tape scene, fraught with demo after demo (after demo), sees this incomprehensibility as tantamount, a reaction to "popular music'"s clarity and melodic sense. As time goes on, this murk becomes an identity all its own, beyond genre and style, and a select few artists look to each other in the race for pure obscurity in sound. The curious and hard-to-pin-down Zwaard finds solace in a billowy and heavily adorned sound on their new EP Bloed en Wijn.

Sounding as if it was recorded direct-to-tape and left in a shoebox behind some old socks in your older sibling's closet for decades, there is a certain sense of discovery to Bloed en Wijn. As such, the black metal held therein sounds distinctly old, but not necessarily dated. Zwaard's desiccated corpse doesn't necessarily shamble across an empty, dark plane, but there is a certain "dead" quality to their music–something that isn't vivacious in full, but rather something which exists beyond the pale and reaches out to the listener through sheer sound. Yes, this is undeniably black metal. Bloed en Wijn has riffs, it has screeching vocals, it has an obscure energy, and it most certainly isn't death metal (which really was the "line in the sand" back when). That being said, it is also something… different–a sound you might hear championed by a certain Roman Catholic black metal band or the low-quality rip of a moldy tape from days of old.

I don't know much about Zwaard–I think they prefer it that way, and I think I do, too. This type of difficult music shouldn't be made by people, and the illusion is there. My hope is that Zwaard reveals themselves to be something from the world of the dead (they just happen to speak Dutch there). I can only dream.

Listen to Bloed en Wijn in full below.



Bloed en Wijn releases March 18th on Argento Records.

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