A MOUTHWATERING DEBUT FROM VETRAR DRAUGURINN
Vetrar Draugurinn: '1'
Released 30th March 2017 (Independent) 17th March 2017
Words and Pictures: Ian Sutherland
Eric Hazebroek has been part of the Dutch Metal scene for many years and is best known for his work with the recently retired Stream Of Passion. Always adept at adding his dark, atmospheric guitar tones to whatever band he is playing in, the demise of his highest profile outlet has led him to bring forward a new band which allows his dark musical vision to be the main driving force.
Step forward Vetrar Draugurinn (Icelandic for Winter Ghosts for the trivia fans). The band is completed by bass player Douwe de Wilde, drummer Jim van den Kirkhof and singer Marjan Welman who is known for her work with heavy rockers Autumn, Ayreon and more.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign what we have on offer is a limited edition four track EP as a taster of a full length album to come. Opening with 'Bleak Earth' this is an immediate statement of intent from a band who want to be all about deep and dark melancholy. That might make you think just of a heavy, doom kind of sound but there is plenty of energy here along with loads of melody alongside some really tasty heavy riffing. Then in comes that voice. I am already on record that I think Marjan Welman has a special talent and her beautifully smooth, melodic tones just sound perfect here.
'Vigil' is more of a steady, shuffling, groovy rock tune with some lovely gentler passages and several really nice melodic lead lines from Mr Hazebroek. 'Mother Of Northern Skies' has more of a grinding, stomping feel to it and another couple of monster riffs. When it slows down a little bit of a doom like vibe develops but eventually layers of melodic guitar lines and vocals are added to give a nicely slow burning ending which I just wish was a bit longer, four and a bit minutes is not enough.
The EP finishes with 'Solis', a haunting ballad, no drums or bass. Over a background dripping in loss and longing Ms Welman's special talents are on show again with a vocal which hangs with a stark beauty over the music. I get goosebumps every time I listen to this song.
This is a mouthwatering start from these guys, I had high hopes knowing the talent on offer but they have surpassed my expectations. The quality of the riffs is absolutely top notch and I just can't get enough of those vocals. I can't wait to see them when they perform live for the first time ever at the Darker Days Festival in Leicester on March 18th, this could be the start of something really special.
If you order this EP through Bandcamp or get a physical copy there are two extra songs available as digital downloads, 'Travelling Alone' featuring Stream Of Passion's Jeffrey Revet on keyboards and 'Into The Black Light'.
March 18th: Darker Days Festival, Leicester, UK
March 30th: Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, NL - RELEASE SHOW
April 14th: Willemeen, Arnhem, NL
April 15th: Mezz, Breda, NL
May 12th: Peppel, Zeist, NL
June 23rd: Altstadt, Eindhoven, NL
September 22nd: FemME MEtal Festival, Effenaar, Eindhoven, NL