Let us remember that Werderganger means “one who walks again” which is a reference to the undead as well as amazing beyond words. I only get excited regarding band’s names when they are so apropos to the band’s music. I first heard Werderganger last year with the demo Gelderse Drek. At just 2 songs totaling 11 minutes, Gelderse Drek was a frustratingly interesting exploration of traditional black metal vocals contrasted with a melancholic baritone voice. My reccomendation for Gelderse Drek came with the plea that this band had to make more music lest I would uncoil mentally. Halfvergaan Ontwaakt has come in the night as a savior which may also be a further unraveling into darkness.
Halfvergaan Ontwaakt, unsurprisingly, contains the material from Gelderse Drek tucked inside 32 more minutes of music. I usually do not begrudge bands who repeat releases if it was from a demo and especially if it causes this much excitement. The two songs which sparked interest is fully inflamed as Wederganger’s melancholic horrors are unraveled across dark wooden floors. Songs like “Dodendans” do not even need to include harsh vocals to have the weight of eternity at its side. Halfvergaan Ontwaakt goes far beyond vocal gimmick and creates something unnerving and cohesive. Even the instances of the piano interlude “Schimmenspel” resonates deep within the later half of the record giving the structure a haunted sensibility.
If I sound moved by this record it is only a year of patiently waiting for a record and then having a wish fulfilled. I predicted and theorized what a full length using the clean/harsh vocals template would sound like through an entire full length. While I was partially right, Wederganger picks up the rest and makes it astounding and one of the more memorable records of the years. Maybe this excitement will wear off in a few months but for now everything is dark with clouds of insects.