- Floor Jansen
Well-known talents for us: Marcela Bovio, (ex-Stream of Passion, MaYaN, Ayreon), Ruben Wijga (ex-ReVamp, BlackBriar), and Jord Otto (ex-ReVamp, ex-VUUR, My Propane). Completing the gang, we have also in the drums Ariën van Weesenbeek (Epica, MaYaN, ex-God Dethroned), and in the bass Siebe Sol Sijpkens (Phantom Elite, Destiny Potato, Sordid Pink).
After years of working in the Dutch metal scene, the trio has found the opportunity to combine their skills and influences to create a unique mix of progressive, electronic, and also, the so beloved symphonic metal, giving birth to DARK HORSE WHITE HORSE.
We from Head Up High had the opportunity to listen to the EP that will be released on April 16th and here are our impressions:
Judgment Day (4:00): This song opens the EP and it sounds like something from a different world. Heavy guitars and basses show the listeners what they are here for. If you’re a prog metal enthusiastic and others “not-so-easy to listen” branches of metal, you’ll dig this song instantly. The pre-chorus verses happen in an unusual time signature, that connecting it to the words being sung, gives you the impression of desperation, fear, and fury. It is curious and certainly a great way to start the EP singing at the top of your lungs that this is the end of the world. The chorus hooks onto your mind in a positive for, with Marcela showing her amazing and recognizable voice in the verses “This is the end of the world, the end, the end!” – And what a familiar feeling all of us are feeling due to this pandemic, isn’t it?
The backing vocals and the multiple vocal layers are also a factor worth mentioning and praised. What an excellent job was the arrangement of the secondary vocal lines, the immersion they cause is that feeling that we, music affectionate, always look for when we hit “play” in anything. The song leads you to instantly headbang: the heaviness and the progression, the relation between creating and releasing tension in the correct moments creates a delightful feeling of satisfaction. That would be that sort of song that if played live as an intro to the concert, would make you voiceless right in the first song.
Black Hole (04:13): This is the “softest” song in the EP, but that doesn’t mean the song is actually soft – it is incredibly frenetic and plays its role with majesty in this EP. This song’s riffs are exceptional. Jord Otto’s job in the guitars is incredible throughout his musical journey, but I have reasons to believe that what he did specifically in DHWH is one of the best jobs in his entire career, if not the best.
The use of the Synths by Ruben Wijga to connect the verses is done in a well-thought-out way and it adds unexpected elements to the song – rarely we listen to the synth sound being used in metal songs with such skills. The vocals are aggressive and explosive and guide you through the amazing heaviness the song provides.
The Spider (4:15): This song has constant and intense energy. The succession of guitar solos followed by synths solos it’s metal in its most interesting sounds. It is possible to hear the creative flow each musician had to create the songs, not being needed to pigeonhole themselves into a specific sound or genre, to accomplish somebody’s expectative over their sound.
The song starts brutal and it’s hard to get it out of your mind. It has specifics riffs that will replay in your mind after the song is over for quite a while. The smoothness of Marcela’s voice in contrast with the intense instrumental gives you goosebumps as the song progresses.
The chorus sounds light and catchy, but in a different way from the previous songs – it sounds more mature (if possible). The solos in this song are definitely the highlight, both the guitar and the synth solos.
Get out (04:11): It gives me the feeling of uncomfortableness, and it sounds that they did this on purpose. The calm that comes in the first verses culminates in a purge that gave me goosebumps. The verses from the chorus “You’re not welcome here” are sung strongly and movingly. The violin on the back in the few quiet parts sounds like the calm before the storm. It is a breathtaking song indeed.
The dynamics in this song are phenomenal, the song never allows you to get distracted because there’s always something interesting happening – you have to pay attention to everything that’s happening (and constantly changing) as the verses go by.
Cursed (05:20): [Our favorite song, no questions asked] The backing vocal with the operatic vocals transmits what the song title indicates: a curse being thrown. The contrast between Marcela’s voice and the riffs is incredibly charming. It is an incredibly strong song, limitless with a powerful instrumental arrangement to it.
It is notorious that in this song, Marcela wanted the message to be conveyed with clarity. She pronounces every word with surgical precision, meaning every word she sings. The incredibly high-pitched vocals combined with Jord’s already-mentioned riffs transform this song into the perfect end to this EP journey. The quick orchestral moments help the listener to get into a dark and scary atmosphere – I can only imagine the typical horror movie scenarios when I listen to it. The feeling I got from the second part of the song was as if I was running away from something (or myself, maybe?) – It is simply amazing.
It’s possible to say that DHWH are masters in dynamics. It was a 25 minutes EP of extremely heavy music and it never got to the point of being boring to hear. Marcela Bovio’s vocals are better and more dynamic than ever, I have the feeling she gave everything she had during the records.
I can also say that this is one of the best works by Jord Otto and Ruben Wijga. For whomever already liked their previous works in different bands, get ready for an incredible journey with a series of riffs, solos, and the most varied techniques. It’s also worth mentioning Arien Van Weesenbeek and Siebe Sol for their fantastic work on the drums and the bass, respectively.
This EP only proves that when combining the correct people in a creative environment, without any creativity restrictions, the result is always something fresh and amazing. It is a powerful piece of art, and it makes us anxious to see it live someday – see and listen to these songs come to life on a stage, by the hands (and throat) of such skillful musicians we know and love. I recommend this EP to every Metal fan that is looking for new sources of musical goosebumps. We can only say that, in the future, more songs from this project are more than welcome!
Ω Team Head up High: Diego, Guilherme and Jess.
1. Judgement Day – 04:00
2. Black Hole – 04:13
3. The Spider – 04:15
4. Get Out – 04:11
5. Cursed – 05:20
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