Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wound Upon Wound: Wound Upon Wound (2012)

Reading That Title Plays Tricks on My Eyes

Ireland is something of an odd man out in the metal world. They're not really a part of the larger European metal scene, and they don't have all that much of a scene of their own. Beyond Primordial, and arguably Altar of Plagues, anything else from the country can rightly be considered "obscure." But that has been a plus, in some ways, because what has been exported has been unusual enough to warrant some attention.

Wound Upon Wound is a Dublin band who have decided to give away their debut full-length for free. Their band logo looks a hell of a lot like Altar of Plagues' band logo, and they do bear some similarity to Altar of Plagues (particularly on "For This Is My Flesh"). But though they share some sonic elements and an affinity for sprawling compositions, post-black metal is not a good way to describe their music. Instead, it borders on the rarely trod ground of blackened doom.

I learned about this self-titled record at No Clean Singing, and remarked that it's rare for a band to actually sound like blackened doom. Usually, that means just "slow black metal" or "doom that's not heavy and has raspy vocals." Reviewer Andy Synn replied that "[i]t's the lurching that does it." And I think he's right. Opener "I Become" has a decidedly lurching riff, with a steady blackened riff played over the top. That lurching appears elsewhere on the record, as on "As the Waves Draw Closer" or "Every Tongue Shall Confess." The doomy elements extend also to the vocals, which are raspy but often descend into deep growls.

Elsewhere, it's fair to say that they fall back on "slow black metal" instead of "black/doom." And their brand of black metal borrows significantly from the U.S. scene, especially the leads. It has a Wolves in the Throne Room vibe throughout (though much more hateful), and Woe-like drums on "Descent."

Not only is it unusual, it's very good. And free. The longer songs could stand to be slightly more economical, or they could learn how to end them in a more interesting way. But it will not disappoint.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment