Wodensthrone – Loss
image from Bindrune website-
I’ve had this one sitting on the back burner for weeks, I must confess. I think I found it in the £3 bin at the sound machine, along with Meshuggah’s Alive (another review to come…) and Fear Factory’s latest. As for why I haven’t reviewed it yet — eh, I guess I haven’t been in a black metal mood, and I didn’t want to review it while not being in the zone, as it were. I imagine you can all sympathise with this – to truly appreciate art, you have to be of the right mindset. There’s no point going to the National Gallery while hung over, or to Shakespeare with your head rattling from a gig the night before, and the same is true with recorded media.
Wodensthrone are one of a number of British bands exploring an atmospheric, British-historicist approach to black metal – that is, eerie passages, Old English song titles and subject matter, a bleakness and passion that can only really be described as British through and through. Other bands of their ilk include Winterfylleth and Fen. Wodensthrone’s music is very expansive – the average song length on Loss is 6 to 7 minutes, with 4 running to over 10 minutes. Think lengthy atmospheric passages, extended blasting, naturalistic sound effects. At 69 minutes on a CD you get your money’s worth, that much can definitely be said for the band. Nothing irks me more than bands that keep grinding out 38 minute albums, when these days media allows so much more to be produced with every issuance.*
As to the album itself, it is pretty damn good. I originally had misgivings, expecting it to be a blur of blasts and tremolo that would cause me to lose interest after a few minutes. While the album does have a fair few sections of blast and riff, there is enough variance in the riff structures, drumming, atmospherics and song structuring to retain, and indeed, excite interest. While it isn’t an instant album – far from it – it does have a fair few decent hooks and a nice smattering of acoustic and folksy elements scattered tactically amongst the more linear black metal material. The production is lo fi, but not to the point of inaudibility. The vocals are a dry, passionate rasp, balanced nicely in the well considered mix.
So, while not exactly on my regular play list, I am far from aggrieved to own this album.
*The obvious exception being genres where brevity is a positive attribute, like grind and death metal.