Album Title: 
De Verminkte Stilte Van Het Zijn
Release Date: 
Friday, October 14, 2022
Review Type: 

One of the 666 alter egos by Maurice ‘Mories’ de Jong aka MdeJong is Hagetisse, which he created almost six years ago, if I am not mistaken. I am not going to delve into this great musician’s huge discography; at the bottom you can find some reviews I did write in the (recent) past about some of his other outfits. I’ll go immediately to the content of De Verminkte Stilte Van Het Zijn and the Hagetisse essence.

Actually, this specific project was created to show and to express Maurice’s adoration for the raw and old-styled sound from the second half of the Nineties, and then, more specifically, the Norwegian approach. Okay, his latest work under this moniker was little more exploratory, but the label’s biography refers to the Nattens Madrigal (Natte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden)-era by Ulver. That’s a sonic direction that might cover this newest piece’s raisin d’être too.

De Verminkte Stilte Van Het Zijn, which can be translated like ‘the mutilated silence of being’, is the sixth full-length under the Hagetisse-moniker (which is like a medieval word for a woman who works, and heals, with herbs and spiritual support, in short…), recorded at the end of 2021, and eventually released on vinyl via the Antwerp-based (Belgium) label Babylon Doom Cult Records. It’s quite limited, printed in two different 12”-LP versions (black and brown marbled), with quite unusual and strange, somewhat explicit yet catching cover artwork. Both sides bring four pieces, clocking almost forty minutes in its totality. The past offered both Dutch and English lyrics; this newest work is totally ‘sung’ (haha, what a lapsus) in the artist’s mother tongue (cf. the EP Godendraak).

As from the very first moment (via the track Sleur Mij Maar Mee In De Vuurzee [do drag me into the conflagration]), Mijnheer de Jong drags the listener into his conflagrating world of, indeed, archaic blackened magnificence; at the same time catchy and still claustrophobic and asphyxiating. This material is highly melodious, driven by epic, even heroic leads and captivating main melodies. All this gets strongly supported by a massive rhythm-section and appropriate voices. When talking about the first, that rhythm-support, one cannot ignore the magnificence of both supportive string-work and drum-patterns. The rhythm and bass-guitars are like pillars to support a huge construction (the rough-edged yet well-balanced production undisputedly consolidates this equilibrium), while the percussion-work strengthens the intensity when balancing towards rather fierce moments, then again, supporting the more atmospheric excerpts with conviction and persuasion. The few keyboard-lines, then again, are not accidentally supportive, yet well-woven within the whole concept.

Vocal-wise, the better part is rough-edged, somewhat wretched and hoarse, spitting an old-schooled nastiness that did (and still does) characterize a certain level of drama and spectacle. But hey, it does not mean that the result is like some fake theatrical scenery, you know, that would-be kind of stuff à la ‘look how nasty we are’. We know that Maurice pays tribute to the scene(s) he adores, so this trespasses any histrionic grotesquery. Anyway, besides these rusty-pitched screams, there are some spoken parts and some deep growls too, aggrandizing the implicitly uncomplicated narrative called De Verminkte Stilte Van Het Zijn.

The result is abundant, at times even decadent (oh, I like that), yet it permanently refers to a certain fundament that did identify the (Scandinavian) scene from about three decades ago. There’s an abyss-driven energy (never heard about it? - it exists as from now on!) going on the whole of the time, yet never it gets deprived of itself into exaggeration. The better part is energetic - no, actually the whole album comes with an enthusiastic vigor - yet still the whole withholds a certain, specific, unique, expression of conviction, elegance and vigilance.

…wonderful production / sound-quality too, by the way…