Vetrar Draugurinn – Hinterlands



Painted Bass Records

Release: March 27, 2019


Formed around former Stream of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, Dutch progressive doom metal band Vetrar Draugurinn have released their debut album “Hinterlands” earlier this spring, on March 27, via Painted Bass Records. Setting out to bring a chill in the air of the Dutch metal scene and showcasing their unique style of incorporating melancholic melodies with heavy, downtuned riffs, they have created an album that offers wistfulness and charm.


Following the trend set by such acts as Draconian or Tristania, and bouncing between gothic metal and doom, with a bit of prog, the music is quite gloomy but the bright voice of Marjan Welman (Autumn, Ayreon) acts as a counter balance to the darkly tones of the instrumental. Between versatile drummer Jim van de Kerkhof, axe-men Thomas Cochrane and Eric Hazebroek, bass master Arjan Heijden and the angelic vocals of Marjan, they have created music that is both melancholic and doomy, intense yet fragile, mellow but also quite massive and loud, with a lot of melody and atmosphere to it. “Hinterlands” contains 11 original tracks that give you a glimpse of light in the dark forest, a little bit of warmth in the long wintery night.




I am


The wolves at our door

Mother of northern skies

Death will come for us

Forever locked within

The narrow path


Bleak Earth

Twelfth night

 First single release “Hinterlands” opens the album on downtuned guitar lines and drums to which Marjan’s vocals add a layer of melody and set the mood for the rest.  The chorus is quite catchy and I like the hefty guitar in the background, giving extra thickness to the sound. There is a sense of urgency in the following track, “I am”, coming from the guitars and drums, but the vocals keep the song calm and even a bit sorrowful, especially considering the lyrical content. Acting like a ballad, “Second” is a really emotional and soulful yet upbeat track, with a very beautiful guitar melody, that showcases Marjan’s angelic vocals. With the trio of songs “The wolves at our door”, “Mother of northern skies”, and “Death will come for us” the album picks up momentum as the guitars and drums are more present and central, while the vocals dance somewhere above the intense instrumental. I really enjoy this back-and-forth between the instrumental and the vocals, making sure the balance is just right every time.

The highly emotional “Forever locked within” and “The narrow path” highlight the band’s gothic side a bit more, as the instrumental seems to take a back-seat giving Marjan more room to shine, and the overall atmosphere is gloomier and darker than before. I have to say that the drums on “The narrow path” are on-point, especially during the solos, giving the song a different, earthly feel, which I do enjoy quite a lot. The wonderful solo and chugging guitar riffs in “Wanderer” makes the song extra heavy and dynamic, while “Bleak Earth” has an underlying melancholy coming from the vocal delivery, which is balanced perfectly by the drums and groovy guitar melody. The wistful and doomy “Twelfth night” closes the album on a rather gentle and mellow note, with a note-worthy guitar solo towards the end.


What I find particularly interesting not only in this album, but about Vetrar Draugurinn sound and general approach to music, is the lack of growls or any kind of male vocals, be it harsh or clean. It is not every day that you find an album in the gothic / doom trend, such as “Hinterlands”, that is just instrumental and clean female vocals, and I find this to be quite an interesting take, given the current metal scene. However, I have to agree with Pedro Almeida (from youtube channel A&P Reacts) that some songs would benefit from some male vocals here and there, just to give them more weight and texture. And there were a few songs from this album that would have been better with this added thickness coming from male vocals, which would also complement Marjan’s bright voice. Maybe next time. 

In conclusion, though “Hinterlands” may be a bit linear, it does offer an emotional and atmospheric ride, with a good pace and nice flow of the songs, and a well-balanced mix of doom and groove. It is an elegant, cohesive and quite enjoyable sonic experience for fans of the genre, but not only.


Rating: 8 / 10








By Andrea



Marjan Welman – vocals

Eric Hazebroek – guitar

Thomas Cochrane – guitars

Arjan Heijden – bass

Jim van de Kerkhof – drums

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