Wolvennest - Temple review




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Reviewer:
8.1

33 users:
7.33
Band: Wolvennest
Album: Temple
Release date: March 2021


01. Mantra
02. Swear To Fire
03. Alecto
04. Incarnation
05. All That Black
06. Succubus [feat. King Dude]
07. Disappear
08. Souffle De Mort


Wolvennest's Void was a fairly colossal undertaking; their next album, Temple, is no different.

Void was monstrous, both in its length (70 minutes) and in just how engrossing its atmosphere was. The combination of atmospheric black metal, krautrock, drone, dark ambient, gothic and other styles within a repetitive, motif-oriented framework worked wonders, with songs slowly, gradually developing whilst keeping listeners ensnared within the hypnotic, and at times ritualistic, foundations of each track. It was a lot to take in, but it rewarded those with the patience and mindset to approach it in spades. 2019's Vortex EP served as a bite-sized display of some of these elements, with others, such as the gothic component on Void, set aside to avoid their sound being spread too thin to fit it all into the shortened runtime. If anyone was worried that anything lost during this transition might remain a thing of the past should fear not, as Temple is a whole 10 minutes longer than Void, and those gothic and ritualistic aspects found on its predecessor are here in abundance.

The core sound of each track on Void was pretty similar: a lengthy quiet introduction followed by a mid-tempo blackened riff that would serve as a base for the rest of the song, with subsequent layering as tracks progressed. The ambient introduction to "Mantra" suggests that things will remain the case, and the subsequent plodding riff further supports that theory. Once the riff kicks in, it sustains for almost all of the many remaining minutes of this song, the drums monotonously stomping along as overlaid guitar tremolos, warbling electronics and ritualistic vocal back-and-forths build the track further. The trade-offs of the bleak group chants and Sharon Shazzula's preacher-esque retorts really lean into the ceremonial vibe that "Mantra" has, giving the procession towards the song's conclusion a really hefty atmosphere. A real scene-setter of an opening, "Mantra" makes it clear from the outset that Temple is an album that rewards perseverance and commitment to the process.

Although "Mantra" follows a similar general blueprint to most of the tracks that follow, in doing so making it clear early on whether this album will appeal or not, it does stand out in just how intense the ritualistic vibe is on it; "Swear To Fire" feels less like an observance and more like an actual song, with the exchanges between Shazzula's verses and the guitar leads. It's also a song where the atmosphere feels less inspired by religious (or perhaps anti-religious may be more apt) ceremony, and more by horror movies and gothic music. It would be unfair to describe it as 'cheesy', but this song takes my mind more in a direction of graveyards, witches and full moons, rather than candles and hooded robes.

These two tones, the gothic and the ritualistic, are present in varying degrees across the rest of the album. The latter comes through on the likes of "Alecto" and "Incarnation", and especially so on the eerie closer "Souffle De Mort", a track that eschews many of the features that make up their other song in favor of menacing, loosely structured guitar and echoing, processional percussion, above which Shazzula leads a sinister sermon. It's a really interesting extension of the ideas found in tracks such as "Mantra" that arguably takes the group closer to dark ambient territory than they've gone on any of their other songs before now. At the other end of the spectrum, "Succubus" and "Disappear" go into full-on gothic territory thanks to the guest vocals from TJ Cowgill (also known as King Dude) and Olmo Lipani (Déhà, who has previously worked with Wolvennest as both a producer and musician), respectively. It's interesting to have these two songs that stand out so much placed back-to-back on the tracklist, but it actually works quite nicely; the gothic vibes on "Succubus" come primarily from the vocals, whilst the instrumentation on "Disappear" is the closest that the band gets to classic gothic rock territory, so the former effectively sets the tone for the latter.

I've criticized several albums within the past 12 months for running on too long, including Harakiri For The Sky within the last 2 weeks; however, whilst Temple does feel its length, it's not necessarily a burden in the same way. Atmospheric, repetitive, ambience-oriented music is far more suitable for exploration over such extensive runtimes, as the length allows listeners to get lost within the trance conjured by the music and the subtleties found within, whilst more song-oriented, direct music just becomes overwhelming. Additionally, the extended length allows Wolvennest to explore the different sides of their sound without rushing.

Nevertheless, the music needs to deliver quality; if the atmosphere is unconvincing, the illusion will fall apart over the duration of the record. Thankfully, whilst there are times when Temple sags, for the most part it manages to sustain the allure thanks to quality songwriting, particularly on tracks such as "Incarnation", a really melancholic, haunting piece and arguably the pick of the bunch here. I'm not sure whether Temple is necessarily an improvement on Void, but it's a logical continuation of and progression from that record, and anyone on board the Wolvennest hype train after Void came out should be more than satisfied by what the group deliver here.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 02.03.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 114 users
02.03.2021 - 10:31
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Really hyped about this one
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Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

2021 goodies
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02.03.2021 - 11:19
Zap
Phlegmish
I'm excited to hear this. I never even realised the previous album was that long, it really justifies its length. If you're going to write something as hypnotic as Wolvennest generally is, you might as well drag it out a bit.
----
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
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02.03.2021 - 11:27
Deadsoulman
Ok Lumberjack
Nice. Void is by far one of my favourite albums of the past decade, but I found Vortex a bit underwhelming, so I was a little worried this one wouldn't live up to its predecessor. Your review gets me back aboard the hype train my good sir, a job well done.
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02.03.2021 - 11:31
musclassia

^Hopefully everyone here is satisfied come Friday!
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02.03.2021 - 17:41
Draugen

I'm ready! Love their ritualistic sound so much.
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05.03.2021 - 16:14
Deadsoulman
Ok Lumberjack
Written by musclassia on 02.03.2021 at 11:31

^Hopefully everyone here is satisfied come Friday!


After the first couple of listens, I am totally satisfied indeed. This sounds a bit more varied than Void, which is great.

So far, three songs stand out : Swear To Fire which follows almost exactly the formula they perfected on Void, and Succubus which may very well be my favourite and displays that excellent newly-enhanced gothic vibe they got going on - these two tracks just go to show how competent Wolvennest are with both the ritualistic and the gothic side of their sound. And also Souffle De Mort which sees the band delve even further into the incantation business. Sort of like La Mort 2.0. Funny to see how a little mantra like "Silence ! Les sorcières dansent..." which could be totally cheesy in French can be so efficient when used wisely.

Only time will tell, but I can totally see myself enjoying this one as much as Void.
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05.03.2021 - 17:20
musclassia

Written by Deadsoulman on 05.03.2021 at 16:14

Written by musclassia on 02.03.2021 at 11:31

^Hopefully everyone here is satisfied come Friday!


After the first couple of listens, I am totally satisfied indeed. This sounds a bit more varied than Void, which is great.

So far, three songs stand out : Swear To Fire which follows almost exactly the formula they perfected on Void, and Succubus which may very well be my favourite and displays that excellent newly-enhanced gothic vibe they got going on - these two tracks just go to show how competent Wolvennest are with both the ritualistic and the gothic side of their sound. And also Souffle De Mort which sees the band delve even further into the incantation business. Sort of like La Mort 2.0. Funny to see how a little mantra like "Silence ! Les sorcières dansent..." which could be totally cheesy in French can be so efficient when used wisely.

Only time will tell, but I can totally see myself enjoying this one as much as Void.


Yeah, I think I perhaps slightly prefer Void, but this does have more range. I agree with the three songs you highlighted as standouts; I also really like Incarnation, and Mantra makes for a really effective opening gambit. I think tracks 3 and 5 are the only ones that get a bit overshadowed by the rest
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05.03.2021 - 22:40
nikarg
Mod
Written by musclassia on 05.03.2021 at 17:20

I also really like Incarnation, and Mantra makes for a really effective opening gambit. I think tracks 3 and 5 are the only ones that get a bit overshadowed by the rest

Incarnation
The vocals on "All That Black" give me big Diamanda Galas vibes
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