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Wyrding

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cover imageWyrding may be a relatively new project, this being their debut album other than a single that was previously a limited hand-made object, now reissued as a cassette and bonus tracks on the digital version oft his album.  The band, however, is led by Troy Schafer (also a member of Kinit Her and Wreaths, amongst many others) and they have deep roots throughout the Wisconsin underground scene.  The resulting album is an idiosyncratic blending of black metal and neofolk minimalism that also draws from religious music and other fields, but comes together in a way that somehow manages to make perfect sense.

Small Doses

Instantly from the first moments of "Poltergeist," the mood is set for the entirety of the record.  Leading off with exasperated breathing and far off, pained human voices, the band quickly launches in to a slow funeral march.  Schafer's deep, guttural voice channels the darkest of vibes, as the rest of the band proceeds with a creeping, shuffling elegance.  The pace is slow, but the dynamic alternates between heaviness and open space.  With the addition of organ and the rest of the band contributing chanting vocals, there is more than a hint of liturgical drama to be had.

The pace and vocal style continues clearly into "Longing's End," but the band chooses to focus on a clean, old school hard rock/metal guitar tone throughout that contrasts the sacred music elements a bit more.  That style continues into "False Concept of Voyage," which retains the big metal guitar sound, but a lighter atmosphere and more vocal harmonizing.  The final result ends up being more melodic and folk-like though, before coming to an abrupt end.

On the second half of the album, Wyrding split between two short instrumental interludes and two more fully fleshed out songs.  Opening with "Impression I," lengthy guitar soloing and tasteful accompaniment make for a lighter sense of melody that builds to a crushing crescendo.  This segues brilliantly into the piano driven "Steaming Blood Ascends Beyond the Moon," an overall calmer work despite its grim title.  Percussion is sparse, the guitar melodies are strong, and the vocals are lighter.

The following "Ahold A Wren" sees the band darkening things up a bit more, with heavier guitar and sharp, shimmering drums taking the focus.  Schafer's vocals are a bit less doomy, but still have a tortured quality to them, amplified by the layered chanting accompaniment.  The closing "Impression II" ends the record on a synth heavy, deep vocal note.  The CD version includes the two songs from the Agony in Being single, which thematically fit with the rest of the release, though have an overall more experimental, cut-up quality to them compared to the more traditional song-like arrangements of the self titled single.

Wyrding's debut full-length album may not be for everyone, with its strict adherence to a dirge-like pacing and Troy Schafer's deep, sepulchral vocal inflection.  However, its rich, yet deliberately sparse instrumentation conveys a depressing beauty that makes it a truly memorable record that draws from a multitude of styles without latching onto any one too specifically.   It is an icy beauty that may take some time to fully reveal itself, but it is extremely satisfying when it does.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 27 March 2016 22:20  


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