Twilight of the World
This album by Wolfsblood is one of the more astonishing things I
have heard this year.
It took me a while to discover this one. At a glance it doesn't stand out as a candidate to be particularly special, a standard-sounding band name and title from an unknown project.
Even on an initial listen it doesn't reveal itself right away. The first couple tracks come on like dark ritual ambient with a touch of apocalyptic-folk influence. Nice enough but nothing worth writing about yet. A few more tracks in as I'm sinking into the atmosphere of this album, and it begins progressing in unforseen and indescribable ways, I realize, oh-my-lord this is incredible.
I can't think of anything else that quite measures up to the spell this album casts. The most important component is the throbbing swirling atmosphere it stirs which is loaded with primal energy. This force builds throughout the album. Holding it together there are sounds used repeatedly to successful effect, for example there are wolf howls and chimes you will hear quite a few times across this listen, each time adding more power to the sonic brew.
As if the potent ritual ambience weren't enough, almost every one of the 16 tracks on this album explores a unique musical direction. There is a heavy drum driven track, a soft piano track, an acoustic guitar led track, an accordian led track, male-vocal dominated tracks, female-vocal dominated tracks, spoken word tracks, and others that are just indescribable. You really never know where it's going to go next, although it all seems just right once you've crossed over to the alternate universe this band creates.
It's a mindblowing listening experience. The only shortcoming I can think to mention would be that the vocals are largely delivered spoken word style in Russian, which can't connect directly to an English speaker such as me, but I find I don't mind at all because the whole is musically so effective. Theoretically one might accuse this group of being too over the top, yet to me this album doesn't come across as cheesy as it simply works so well, I find it totally convincing.
While there is nothing else quite like this album, a rough comparison that might be drawn would be a blend of the best of Waldteufel, Hybryds, and Aghast. With a Russian feeling.
I've always felt the best dark ambient music often comes out of East Europe. Certainly it's the region of the map where it makes the most aesthetic sense. Wolfsblood confirms the theory once again and makes me newly curious about what other dark post-industrial music is going on out there that I don't know about yet.
Wolfsblood is a case where you just cannot get an idea of what the album is like from a short audio sample. It doesn't give you enough time to soak. If you're ready to experience what I'm talking about then you're just going to have to dive in head first and get your hands on the full album.
May 11, 2006
Michael J. Salo
© 2006 Wolfsblood