Grey Aura 

Grey Aura, 2018. Photography by Sven Signe den Hartogh.

Grey Aura is a conceptual black metal band from Utrecht, the Netherlands. The band’s members are Ruben Wijlacker, Tjebbe Broek, Sylwin Cornielje, and Seth van de Loo. 

Debut album ‘Waerachtighe beschryvinghe van drie seylagien, ter wereld noyt soo vreemt ghehoort’, was released by Blood Music in 2016. It is a nearly one-and-a-half-hour long album that deals with polar explorer Willem Barentsz’ third and final voyage to find a north-eastern passage to Asia in 1596.  Although the album is firmly rooted in mid-nineties black metal, it is an exercise in subtle experimentation; ‘Waerachtighe beschryvinghe…’ contains elements of audio theatre and neoclassical composition. The album was created with a strong sense of historical accuracy and its foreword was written by German Polar researcher Nikolas Sellheim. ‘Waerachtighe beschryvinghe…’ was added to the permanent collection of the Dutch National Library in The Hague in 2016.

Grey Aura’s sophomore album ‘Zwart vierkant’ is the result of six and a half years of sonic experimentation. The band wrote and released two demos in order to fully develop a new sound. ‘Zwart vierkant’ takes a very experimental approach to black metal, trading the music’s signature coldness and misanthropy for a delirious southern heat. The album contains elements of flamenco music, spoken word and jazz.

‘Zwart vierkant’ is conceptually based on Ruben Wijlacker’s debut novel ‘De protodood in zwarte haren’ (2019). The novel deals with fictional 20th-century artist Pieter ‘Pedro’ van der Laan, and his extreme obsessions with abstract art and Modernism.

The album was released by Onism Productions and Kunstlicht in 2021.

Grey Aura live, 2022. Photography by Nora Langenhoff.