Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom

Review by Craig Hayes.

Artwork by Metastazis

You could argue that trying to maintain any semblance of sanity in this world is a totally mad idea itself. Obviously, it helps us get through the day if we don’t scream bloody murder in other peoples faces about the things that blight of our existence. However, madness often seems like the only sane option when the world outside the window looks like a Hieronymus Bosch painting engulfed in flames.

Of course, that desire to rage at the world is one of the prime reasons we all love metal in the first place. It’s always been a crucial vent and weapon for our endless frustrations, and many a black metal band has taken utter delight in pouring scorn on this reality with ill-intentioned and demented abandon.

The greatest black metal bands have always leant hard on unhinged thematics and musicality to push sinful and embittered missives, and Icelandic one-man black metal band Wormlust does the very same. Formed by H.V Lyndgal in 2006, Wormlust’s full-length debut, 2013’s The Feral Wisdom, is 40-plus minutes of deranged black metal on a outer-space and schizophrenically soundtracked acid-trip. Songs like “Sex augu, tólf stjörnur” and “Djöflasýra” surge through psychotic second-wave screeds, detour off into ambient interludes of Lovecraftian terror, and then come blasting back with blistering darkness – choking Hawkwindian and Tangerine Dream-like atmospherics to death in the process. “Á altar meistarans” drifts through a Hammer Horror and synth-filled universe, “Iður úti” features 10-minutes of astral projections and discordant left-field explorations, and all together, The Feral Wisdom makes for one of 2013’s most fucked-up (i.e best) and unique black metal experiences.

The album perfectly balances bone-chilling and lo-fi causticity with more technical and progressive nuance that repeated listening brings to the surface. Much of the album calls to mind the sci-fi horror film Event Horizon. With Wormlust taking divergent tangents – one hell-bound and the other celestial – and combining those into an all-encompassing cinemascape, where the duality of music offered finds a connection right at the heart of fear.

All the Kosmische passages are woven in as integral features in the overall eldritch canvas – and speaking of art, you only need check out the Haight-Ashbury via downtown Hell cover art to grasp the vibe here. Swirling swarms of riffs throughout the album create a pitch-black vortex with the gravity to drag you in, and the weight to hold you there, forever. And Lyndgal’s deranged shrieks and whispered mutterings from the abyss only add to the hellish hybrid of psychedelia and sinisterness.

The Feral Wisdom features exceptionally strong songwriting, with songs that are clearly experimental in tone but never lose touch with the earthiest and most grotesque black metal – no matter how far they stray into the cosmos. The album is replete with incantations to the madness of the void and of this world, and the crawling chaos of its icy riffs, hallucinogenic keyboards, and jagged blast-beats wrenches open the portals to other dimensions; taking the nightmares that haunt our subconscious and fusing them to iniquitous abominations that lie beyond.

Exposing those links between a vast and uncaring universe and our own primal and terrestrial fears is nothing new in metal. However, The Feral Wisdom captures those connections with the kind of apocalyptic dread that disorientates and then dominates.

The Feral Wisdom is highly recommended.


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