Author: Bloodshot Grub
Album: Moving Monoliths
Label: Bindrune Recordings
The 2015 torrent of atmospheric black metal continues with Moving Monoliths, the debut full-length by Winnipeg’s Wilt. My reaction to each new one that crosses my desk has become routine. I shake my head and mutter to myself, then press play and give a resigned nod as I try to figure out how a genre so hopelessly glutted can still continue to entertain me.
Moving Monoliths offers three songs plus an outro, and follows the sludgier side of the genre also currently being explored by Vattnet Viskar and Hope Drone. Of those two bands, I’d say Hope Drone is the one to which Wilt is the most similar, though Hope Drone is considerably more minimalist in its execution. But the general idea is the same: chord progressions played with high-speed tremolo picking at near funeral doom tempos, the occasional lilting melody with lots of delay, and long songs utilizing extensive repetition.
The album starts off strong with “Illusion of Hope.” Drummer Blair Garraway takes the unorthodox approach of hitting everything at the same time in his blast beats, with kick, snare, and hi-hats landing together on every 32nd note. The chord progression that he’s playing under is, like Hope Drone, rudimentary, but it unfolds slowly and with great weight. It’s a very steady, constant, almost mechanical energy, and, befitting the album title, gives the impression of putting a great deal of energy into the glacial movement of something so massive as to seem immovable.
Even if the chord progressions are nothing remarkable, the songwriting that ties them together does use them to good effect. When melodies are used, they are likewise rudimentary but effective. The vocals are neither an asset or a detriment, and in fact the music doesn’t have any one thing I’d point to as a “killer feature.” And yet somehow it all adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. The atmosphere is one of sweeping grandeur and melancholy, and even if it avoids Hope Drone‘s penchant for seemingly endless repetition, there’s enough there for it to be satisfyingly hypnotizing.
There’s not a great deal of variation between the first two tracks. I had to check a few times on my first listen through when I couldn’t figure out whether or not I was still listening to the same song. They’re very similar in tempo and overall construction, but the third track breaks away from that with both a slightly faster tempo and a much brighter mood that pulls everything into Deafheaven territory. Those averse to any sort of brightness in their black metal will be pleased enough to find that the diversion is short lived. “The Elder” is the most complex and dynamic of the three songs on Moving Monoliths, but it mostly confines itself to the same textures as the other two.
Wilt is a plenty enjoyable album, but it’s not one that I’m going to be reaching for over Settler or Cloak of Ash. I will say that those who enjoyed Hope Drone‘s overall sound but who found the repetition excessive might look to Wilt as an alternative. I’m definitely not asking for more atmospheric black metal this year. I’m set. But I’m sure more will make its way to me regardless, and as long as the music is still good, my complaints will be minimal.
- Bloodshot Grub
Check ’em out here: https://wiltmanitoba.bandcamp.com