I didn’t spare any words of praise when I wrote the full album premiere for Dystopia and their new album Geen Weg Uit a few weeks back. And why should I have? I still stand behind each glorifying and glowing remark I made back then about this shoegaze-drenched, atmospheric black metal work of monstrous proportions. I knew I had more to say about it than I could’ve put to the previous article, so the need to pick the album up for a full review and therefore closer inspection, was self-evident.
Opening with “Razernij”, a humongous track cut up into four distinct sections, Dystopia doesn’t hold back at all, but instead demonstrates their full palette right from the beginning. The second the first part kicks in, you’re fully engulfed into the Dutch quintet’s dismal and sullen world, where light is scarce but flickering every once in a while, to keep some kind of hope and promise of relief alive throughout the album’s duration. Speaking of being alive, or lively to be more exact, the production underlines an organic approach that provides the atmosphere with a lot of depth and emotion – complementing dynamic compositions that vary from straightforward and abrasive black metal to brass-laden, experimental post-metal sections with somewhat of a folk-ish angle.
Resounding choruses and melodies tie together the otherwise individualized portions of “Razernij”, and I can’t help but wonder whether or not this approach was by design or chosen after being fully written. Regardless, it’s obvious that it’s meant to be devoured consecutively as a whole, with no pauses in between. Agonized screams and clean vocals take turns as if mirroring the instrumental polar opposites, adding a sense of frailty and colour to the already varying and surprising mix of elements. It probably goes without saying that the addition of brass sections really punctuate the latter, and their inclusion makes Geen Weg Uit really stand out from its peers. Speaking of those, I could pick up few names that somewhat fall into a similar category as Dystopia, but considering the album’s unique nature, associating them with any other groups wouldn’t be beneficial by any means.
Now, while the first track(s) pretty much unveil what kind of a beast Dystopia is, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be surprises along the way. The second entity, “Van de Meute Vervreemd”, takes a different direction as a whole and, through the three smaller pieces making up the bigger picture, you’ll notice a more unforgiving and rough route being chosen. If anything, this is a particularly interesting change in the overall tone. Even though it sits in properly with the rest, it still showcases a different manner of approach, forming a new layer to this already tiered effort.
The last part of this triptych, “Deel III” (which translates to “Part III”, by the way), is a definitive high point on the album for me. While the other such moments would be on “Deel II” and “Deel IV” during “Razernij”, this one flourishes through rage and pummeling, as opposed to the atmospheric chokehold of the other two. So as said, versatility isn’t an issue here, and the last track, “De Dwaas Komt Voor de Redder”, only adds another figurative nail to that good old coffin. Steering back into a moody direction, it carries Geen Weg Uit to a rather relieving and perhaps hopeful ending, which will leave you satisfied and content, though deep inside with a desperate need for more.
Geen Weg Uit is a product of striking emotion and metaphorical mental haze, all tied together with strings woven from despair, sentimental woe, and powerful execution. Albeit only momentarily, it offers you an escape from the throes of modern times, providing you the means to enjoy and savour a certain kind of inconsolable desolation that still ends on a positive outcome. And from an album of this caliber, that is pretty much all you can ask for.