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Hemelbestormer: Aether

Dutch post-metal cosmonauts expand their horizons

Have you ever found yourself in a cemetery, watching the embers of your Gitanes drift off into the evening air, and in your ennui thought: ‘I really like Amenra, but I wish they were slower; I wish the edges were softened and their gaze was aimed more at the endless void of the cosmos than the unknowable bleakness at the heart of man’?

Well, ruminate on that thought no longer, for fellow Belgians Hemelbestormer are that band. Sort of. Following on from last year’s 35-minute, two-track, noise/sludge/post-everything epic, Portals, Aether sees the quartet vastly expand on their initial blueprint and running time (four tacks in little over an hour) to include elements of black metal and melancholic, GY!BE-like post-rock noodling.

Although lacking the nerve-shredding intensity of their compatriots in Amenra, the likes of After Us The Flood and 20-minute closer On Desolate Planes show the same ability to wring the most amount of atmosphere and captivation from the deceptively simplistic, downstroke riffs and unsettling undercurrents of low synth and whispers.