Beenkerver – De Rode Weduwe (review)

Release date: 01-03-2024

We have previously reviewed Beenkerver’s EP ‘Twee Wolven’, so we were very excited to learn that Beenkerver is releasing more new music. For those who don’t know, Beenkerver is a solo project by Niels Riethorst. He has previously released a full-length, Ontaard, and the EP mentioned before. Now Beenkerver is back with another full-length, ‘De Rode Weduwe’. Let’s dive into the tale of Sophia, the prettiest girl from Gelderland. 

The album

De Rode Weduwe is an original story by Beenkerver, but it feels like it could have been a myth of old. Niels did take inspiration from old folklore and stories but made sure this story had no likeness with existing ones. The whole album is more or less a tragic, dark fairytale. And while you can listen to the full album without listening to the lyrics, or listen to the tracks on their own, it makes much more impact to listen to it like a fairytale. The lyrics add another layer to the already impressive music. Oh, and make sure to listen to it on good speakers or good headphones, because there is layer upon layer to create a massive wall of sound, that has new intricacies every time you listen to it. Beenkerver has a dark, but well-pronounced grunt that adds a layer of darkness while allowing you to follow the lyrics. 

De Rode Weduwe

While I’m not going to spoil the whole story of De Rode Weduwe, the main thing is this. Women who were a little different were quickly seen as witches in history. Sophia is murdered for it but ends up taking revenge on everything and everyone. So, in a way, a dark victory in the end nonetheless. 

The album starts with the track De Rode Weduwe (The Red Widow), and surprisingly it starts with a woman screaming, setting the tone for a fast and heavy track. This is the story of what happened to Sophia, so it makes sense that it’s up-tempo. The middle part slows down a bit, but the moment the action in the lyrics pick up again, so does the music. Again, this is an example of how the lyrics really add another layer to the music. Melodically, there are plenty of interesting layers and melodies, taking heavy inspiration from Scandinavian black metal bands. 

Bring me her head

Breng mij haar hoofd (Bring me her head) is one of the two longer tracks on this album. It starts a little slower since most of the action has already happened in the previous track. Some time for introspection for our main character, but not for long, sadly. The sadness and loneliness seep through in the melodies as well. I love the middle part of this track; that riff is intense, and you almost feel Sophia’s fear in those moments. 

After Breng mij haar hoofd, it’s again time for a more up-tempo track with Vel over Been (skin and bone). This feels like an old-school black metal track which I’m sure a lot of people will love. Again, the lyrics about hate and revenge fit the track perfectly. There are some subtle (and not so subtle) screams in the vocals as well, which, together with multiple layers of guitars and synths, add to the ghostly darkness this track portrays. This is probably also the hardest track on the album. 

Decaying Roses

As you probably guessed by now, even without me spoiling the lyrics, Sophia dies in the story. Vergane Rozen (Decaying Roses) is the track in which she gets beheaded. It starts almost like an old-school rock balad, with crunchy guitars and again a slow, slow vibe. We hear the voice of Sophia coming through in this black metal ballad, portrayed by Floor Vandenbrande. It’s a great collaboration because Floor makes Sophia sound almost angelic in comparison to the dark grunts and music.  The break in the middle, just after Sophia stops talking, reminds me of The Color Of Rain’s track Ocean’s Above, with a similar chord progression and again layered with synths. Lyric wise by the way, it reminds me of that track as well. But again, no spoilers. This is a emotional track, and I’m glad Beenkerver used over 7 minutes to tell this part of the story. 

The story could have ended there. With an outro of almost a minute, it feels like the album ends there, too. But no. We need a redemption song, and Haar Wraak is Prachtig (Her Revenge is Beautiful) is just that. Even though the lyrics are again quite dark, the music makes us feel like there is hope, and, in a way, there is, since this is Sophia’s redemption. 

Finale to the story

Somehow she doesn’t get revenge on all the important players in the story, so with Oktober, we get the story of the one that got away. And again it makes perfect sense that this is again another banger, in stark contrast to the hope-filled tunes of Haar Wraak is Prachtig. All the lyrics are in Dutch, and one of the pearls of this album can be found in this track. How beautiful is the line: In zijn hoofd was het herfst, de bladeren vielen van de boom des levens’. It roughly translates to ‘It his head fall had started, and leaves fell of the tree of life”. It fits the narrative of a man becoming insane with guilt and bereavement so well. 

Of course, it can’t end well for that man either, so in De Biecht van een blinde (The Confession of a blind man) he tries to make things right, only to learn that he will soon join Sophia. Where that is, you can find out on your own. De Biecht van een blinde is the perfect conclusion to this dark tale. This track feels like a summary of everything Beenkerver offered on the album and ends the story nicely. If you only listen to one track of this album (which I don’t recommend), this might be a good option. There is enough room for melodic passages, as well as the old-school black metal riffs that the whole album is filled with. It leaves me with a feeling of sadness, and I’m glad it does. Good music is supposed to invoke emotion, so I’m glad to have experienced this story. And where the album opens with Sophia screaming, it ends with her laughing to fully close the cycle. 

Final thoughts

Usually, I give a one-track recommendation in this section of the review. This time I won’t, because I feel you need to experience this album as a whole. You have to follow the story to appreciate the tracks, even though musically they stand on their own well enough. Beenkerver seems to be inspired by old-school black metal (think Dimmur Borgir, Darkthrone), so if you’re a fan of the genre, you should definitely check this album. 

Check out Beenkerver on his linktree or on Facebook. Looking for more Dutch Black Metal? Make sure to check out the rest of our database for interesting other bands.


De Rode Weduwe
Breng Mij Haar Hoofd
Vel Over Been
Vergane Rozen
Haar Wraak Is Prachtig
De Biecht Van Een Blinde

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