Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wormlust- The Feral Wisdom(2013)

Wormlust- The Feral Wisdom

What great and terrible knowledge The Feral Wisdom is, unlocking long dormant synapses and pathways of the mind and rewiring the mainframe of the self into a new creature, more beast than man.  Icelandic Black Metal duo Wormlust have unleashed this ancient erudition, this incantation of grotesque dementia that few albums will be able to match this year.  Structurally progressive, hauntingly melodic and suffocatingly atmospheric, The Feral Wisdom is one of those rare albums which succeeds at creating a dense, inhuman melancholia while also moving at a "narrative" pace.  Individual riffs may not be the center of the album, but they do matter and The Feral Wisdom's four glorious tracks are structured in diverse, exciting ways which to draw as much intensity and devastation from each composition as can be mustered.  Nothing is left but pure dynamism and emotional permanence, and it makes The Feral Wisdom easily the most complete album of 2013 so far.

Describing The Feral Wisdom as "ambient" doesn't quite work, despite the ambient Black Metal elements ingrained throughout the record.  While it has moments of Lurker of Chalice-esque dementia and Paysage d'Hiver's ethereal minutia, The Feral Wisdom can be and is often loud and heavy as fuck, swirling with technical, dissonant riffs and blasting drums.  With how often Wormlust moves between the two styles, its a wonder that they make it feel so effortless and organic.  Take "Sex augu, tólf stjörnur," the open track, which deftly transitions between truly creepy and vaporous ambiance and speedy, Progg-y Black Metal with a great sense of timing and atmosphere while doing enough to keep things interesting with some varying tempos and slithering bass lines.  The riffing here is strictly technical and Prog influenced, so those looking for a more traditional take on Black Metal will likely need to look elsewhere; The Feral Wisdom is in many ways one of the most modern Black Metal albums I've heard in a while.

Modern, but not easy to pigeon-hole anyway.  The ambient elements, while gorgeous and essential, are a bit easier to identify; it isn't anything you haven't heard Lurker of Chalice, Paysage d'Hiver or Blut Aus Nord do.  It's the heavier, nasty sections which really defy categorization: falling somewhere between Krallice, Deathspell Omega and Aosoth without ever comfortably filling any of those stereotypes, when The Feral Wisdom gets fast and harsh it enters some exhilarating and original territory.  "Djöflasýra"is perhaps the strongest of the four tracks, largely because it finds the ultimate synergy between the two contrasting styles and unleashes it in one truly fucked up, agonized track.  The tortured vocals yet diverse vocals help bring the songs together and help sharpen their jagged, flesh rending edges, and the production on The Feral Wisdom could very well become the new standard for any kind of Atmospheric Black Metal.  The mix is very even, save for the vocals which are distant and ghostly, and the dynamic range is kept almost completely intact without any one instrument overwhelming the others.  It's a brilliant piece of engineering and only helps make The Feral Wisdom an even more transcendent experience.

Any complaints I have are minimal at best: the albums heavily ambient compositions are very much back-loaded on the album and it's insanely heavy and technical compositions are really only found on the first two songs.  I would have liked more than the four tracks provided.  These are minor issues and little more, and did almost nothing to detract from the full-contact listening experience of The Feral Wisdom.  No other album I've heard this year has been more emotionally affecting or as addicting, especially in Extreme Metal.  Crack open the flesh-bound tome of The Feral Wisdom and obtain the knowledge of the inner abomination in us all...

Rating: 9.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I was giving this a quick listen after reading your review, and was wondering do you think that once things get chaotic enough with technical dissonant sounds that at that point they come close to becoming ambient again?

    Good call on the Lurker of Chalice comparison, for me it is in how the bass lines are used to make things even weirder.