Until five years ago, Alkerdeel was a band that would show musical activity of some sort every year or so, with a neat three album run between 2010-2016 and a few mini-releases in between. Then came the gap that lasted half a decade, even though pieces from Morinde have managed to hang on in my frequent playlists, yet that didn’t prevent me from completely forgetting that the band would release anything new, until the bombastic new full length, Slonk.
Looking at genres like blackened sludge, one almost always knows what to expect. It’s not always convincing, in fact most of the times, the bands fall short to prove that the ugliness they’re trying to convey is reality. That’s how I first approached Alkerdeel as well with the first listen, but the music was -and still is, to the fullest- there to make me understand that their craft is authentic, and effectual. Don’t bother with labels, go head to head with this album to experience its massive capacity and dismal, compelling monotony, for what seems to be an excellent comeback effort from the band.
With these four tracks, Alkerdeel manage to distill the essence of the grisly riff. Each piece has breathtaking, unique moments, as filthy melodies establish the oppressive atmosphere and keep going, keep going as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The music glances at different subgenres from a distance, giving out feels similar to the dissonance of Ultha / late Twilight, strong doom nuances, and even the deeply ritualistic cascadian black metal bands of the late 00’s. They perfectly execute slower or faster parts, or a combination of both, for example on the brilliant opening track “Vier”, which also hosts the record’s top-notch introduction – that’s how you start your album.
The production leaves the best impressions only as well, providing them with this haunting, landmark sound. Instruments are audible, the listener’s ears will be tickled by the frivolous bass lines behind the overall madness, while the singer spills his guts out with thrilling vocals. Slonk‘s lyrics themselves reek of disgust, but it feels as if they are spoken in a celebrative manner, a perfect fit to the record’s identity. As each of these different branches of the music are so well executed, I was won over directly from the guitar lines. It’s the riffs from “Eirde”, “Vier”, the middle parts of “Zop” or “Trok”, that have a remarkable impact on the outcome of the album.
Alkerdeel caught me off guard, and absolutely ran over the expectations I didn’t even know I had for them. Slonk is quite addictive, containing the best elements from the best sources, an excellent flow and numerous memorable moments. We’re talking about an album with a great introduction, great outro, great sound, great ideas, great musicianship, and no weak spot. Even the cover’s added fractal geometry, apart from the main figure of the animal, is a silent hint of how much this band is determined to move forward. And they have.