The Belgian psychedelic black metal/ambient act take us on a dark, immersive and at times almost cinematic journey into ancient worlds and spiritual realms. Overall this is one hell of a release and I guarantee that even if it isn’t your thing, at the very least you will find it interesting and engaging. The band do an amazing job of drawing the listener in with immersive atmosphere and thematic imagery, but they keep them there with excellent song-writing and impressive musical ability.
Album: The Dark Path To The Light
Label: Ván Records
Release Date: October 6, 2023
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Genre: Psychedelic Black Metal/Ambient
Written by James Sweetlove
I’ll be honest, this is my first encounter with Wolvennest, but wow do they know how to make an impression. With their third album, The Dark Path To The Light, the Belgian psychedelic black metal/ambient act take us on a dark, immersive and at times almost cinematic journey into ancient worlds and spiritual realms, sprinkling in elements of gothic, funeral doom, noise and drone.
The release immediately kicks off with a dark, haunting offering of ambience, unsettling spoken word, folk elements and what feels like ceremonial passages with Lost Civilizations. This track immediately sets the tone of the album, you know what comes next is going to be moody, complex and immersive.
After this introduction we launch into Adversaries, where Shazulla’s vocals grant her our full attention. Her voice is both smooth and silky, as well as mysterious and depressive, as if she has sorrowful secrets to impart upon us. The guitar on the track is a mix of melodic and atmospheric with some psychedelic tinges dropped in here and there, even reaching some noisy heavy psych levels of fuzz in a few moments.
The following track Deathless Love brings in Déhà’s clean vocals, as he sings in harmony with Shazulla at several points on the track. This one is a little catchier in its chorus but a little heavier and more direct in its overall delivery. What really stands out here though is the guitar work, where we see some stunning solos that carry both a sadness and a glimmer of hope to them, like a hand reaching out from underwater, waiting to be pulled up.
Following this we have The Timeless All And Nothing , one of my favourite tracks on the albim and the first time that we get to hear Déhà’s harsh vocals, and boy are they worth the wait. Exploding out of waves of toned down psychedelic guitar and keyboards, ushering in the most black metal sounding riffs so far on the release come harsh, commandingly barked vocals. The back and forth between relaxed, spacy psychedelic elements and black metal aggression is captivating and their union is a sight to behold. The way that the band manages to keep the bite and tone of black metal guitar but plug it into psychedelic rock rhythms and energy is just amazing, particularly in the last 45 seconds of the track.
Next up we have the title track, The Dark Path To The Light, which takes an almost funeral doom meets atmospheric black metal approach. The intro of the song really sets it up for what it will be, opening with a heavy dose of ambient electronic, keyboard and stripped back instrumental elements, as well as some muddled, faded vocals. Once things kick off Shazulla gives us her most depressive performance on the album, toning down the energy in her delivery. The guitars get softer, spacier and more atmospheric, pulling back a little on the psych elements, but still keeping them there subtly. Overall its a beautiful track and I can see why they picked it as the single.
Lastly, but not least we have the closing track Accabadora, and what a wild card this one is. It takes things in a far wilder, more epic and noisier direction. It initially kicks off with a barked chant of the tracks title by who I can only assume is Shazulla, a chant that will repeat throughout the track. We get some absolutely killer shredding on this song, with an almost Middle Eastern tinge to its sound. You’ll find segments of spoken word and what sounds like ceremonial chanting and incantations throughout the latter half of the song. Thrown in with this are droning, harsh noise elements and wailing, closing out the album with a dramatic flair.
Overall this is one hell of a release and I guarantee that even if it isn’t your thing, at the very least you will find it interesting and engaging. The band do an amazing job of drawing the listener in with immersive atmosphere and thematic imagery, but they keep them there with excellent song-writing and impressive musical ability. If you want something different to anything else you’ve heard lately then listen to this.
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