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Hadewych - Hadewych

This is a beautiful package with the CD and four double sided picture cards containing photographs and information encased in red cloth held between two pieces of wood in a plastic sleeve, accompanied with two dried oak leaves in a clear bag. Hadewych was originally released on CD-R as a promo edition limited to some 50 copies in 2007. Thankfully the Dutch label Tuchtunie have had the good sense to reissue it as this sumptuous edition with a regular edition forthcoming.

Musically, it's pretty good too. Hadewych appears to be the musical project of Peter Johan Nijland, who also plays with Volksweerbaarheid and Red Velvet Corridor. That might account for their limited output. On Hadewych he spreads his influences wide with a sound that takes in bits of folk, ritual, post-industrial, post-rock, and experimental. A prepared piano played with metal and cutlery provides the rhythm for a number of the tracks. Their name is derived from a Dutch mystic, and a pagan spirit inhabits the songs and their love of nature. "I am a tree, I am a branch", they tell on 'A Forest For Riss'. Hadewych is an enticing album melding the varied musical styles, and shot through with the current zeitgeist for black metal atmospheres it's sure to turn heads.

'Ava' is built around a sluggish buzzing riff with snarled intonations, later on unleashing some metallic industrial rhythms. It teeters around a black metal sound much in the same way Current 93 do on Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain. By the time they get to 'Prone' they lay fuzzy lush guitar against stuttered rhythms. The thumping post-industrial rhythms and hushed growled vocals offset with passages of quite atmospherics sit somewhere between Allerseelen and Einsturzende Neubaten.

The first few minutes of 'Bordun' are taken up with spoken whispers surrounded by acoustic strum and gentle glistening electronics. It's then broken up by discordant hammering of the piano before reprising with accordion drone and rumbling floor toms. The voice now spoken, and in English, is rich in symbolism. Here, like on 'Dwaling - Star of Moth', the spoken voice is not too unlike Current 93's David Tibet. The queasy psychedelic synth chords and hesitant beats push it towards the sound of Glasgow's Psychogeographical Commission.

With a flurry of ringing bells and echoed chiming synths there's a ritual element to 'A Forest For Wyrd'. It quickly changes swelling into a gushing distorted drone contrasted with silken ethereal harmonies before returning to heavyset murmurs before losing itself in a dense wash of sound. This and the following track, 'Gentle Art of Incineration', really build upon post-rock structures. Despite its rudimentary drum rhythms there's a thickness of sound on a 'Gentle Art of Incineration', a density drawn from guitars and splinters of e-bow that is so obviously post-rock. It eventually blows up with some buzzing guitars pulling Hadewych into a blackened version of post-rock.

Several tracks are based around accordion drone and synths, occasionally with the sound of muffled footsteps. Others feature mandolin strum but I find Hadewych at their strongest when the disparate elements come together like on 'A Forest For Eoh'. Here rolling toms, lumbering low-end bass and shadowy atmospheres give way to ringing bells and acoustic strum. Once again, though, the voices remain hushed and obscured as they do on much of Hadewych.

There's a definite musical kinship with the likes of Allerseelen, Waldteufel and Svarrogh. From out of the trees, Hadewych have created a thrilling debut in a wonderful package. with For more information go to