Review: “Galgenbrok” by Schavot

There are prolific musicians and then there is Dutch multi-instrumentalist Floris Velthuis (aka Boer Batr Geheugen) who in the past two years has released four albums with his bands Asgrauw, Meslamtaea and Sagenland while still finding time for solo project Schavot, inspired by the golden era of Scandinavian Black Metal in the 90’s and artists such as Emperor, Mactätus, and Ulver. For “Galgenbrok” only two aspects were outsourced; the classical cover art to Johan Prenger whose painting is darkly spellbinding and the mastering to Tuianti Studio (Blackdeath, The Gnosis, Meslamtaea) where it was completed with old analogue tube equipment for the desired old school sound…

As a Second Wave Of Black Metal project, Schavot (or “Scaffold“) is inspired by the atmosphere of nature and all that it offers, from the rough and ruthless to the breath taking beauty and that is something reflected in each piece of “Galgenbrok” (or “gallows bait“) from the very start with the cinematic introduction to “Tussen Muren” (or “Between Walls“). That musically  depicts a magnificent splendour before the flames of the album are ignited like a funeral pyre by the rasping, caustic vocals of Velthuis and ferocious blast beats. The sense of grandeur subsides with “Galgenbult” or (“gallows bump“) that references the ligature on the neck left by strangulation by hanging although some cleaner vocal moments lift the second cut from simply being a restless and relentless tirade of banshee wails alongside an earworm of a riff that burrows deep into the skull. It’s true to say that some of the material here could have been used in Velthuis’s other projects, perhaps Asgrauw more than others, however that doesn’t make Schavot any less rewarding; what you witness in listening to this work is not simply some half baked ideas that didn’t fit anywhere else, but a full blown project in its own right that commands attention. Velthuis has managed to combine the feral and raw aspects of the Black Metal sound he has chosen with some of epic beauty thanks to glorious leads and subtle synths and the record has an instant familiarity to it that anyone who has heard anything by Darkthrone or Satryicon will recognise, however its the lack of any voyeuristic tendencies that is welcomed the most in comparison the others. The stand out is piece of the puzzle is “Droglicht” (or “Dangerous light“) a piece that combines all the elements to create something greater than the sum of its parts that shatters glass at 30 paces before the galloping percussion of “Jammerklacht” (or “Lamentation“) solidifies Velthuis reputation for musicianship of the highest order [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Tussen Muren (5:29)
2. Galgenbult (4:17)
3. Witte Juffer (3:58)
4. Helleveeg (5:07)
5. Moerasland (4:27)
6. Droglicht (4:40)
7. Jammerklacht (3:22)
8. Rooftocht (4:29)

Galgenbrok” by Schavot is out 1st October via Void Wanderer Productions

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