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Pure Wrath - Hymn To The Woeful Hearts review

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Band: Pure Wrath
Album: Hymn To The Woeful Hearts
Release date: February 2022

01. The Cloak Of Disquiet
02. Years Of Silence
03. Presages From A Restless Soul
04. Footprints Of The Lost Child
05. Those Who Stand Still
06. Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Hey, turns out there are more bands in Indonesia outside of Vallendusk and Kekal.

Despite being a pretty populated country, there aren't a lot of Indonesian bands I can name. But then again, there aren't a lot of Indian nor Chinese nor Philippine nor Vietnamese bands I can name, and those still have pretty big populations. But don't let that fool you into thinking that there isn't a metal scene in these countries. Vallendusk and Kekal are both bands I enjoy immensely and that I've reviewed and interviewed, so needless to say I have some sort of kinship to Indonesia's scene. But what I can attest for Indonesia's scene but not necessarily for all these other East Asian countries is that Indonesia is really huge on brutal death metal. Sure, there's a lot of brutal death metal bands in a lot of other neighboring countries, but if you randomly selected an Indonesian band, chances are they play brutal death metal. Pure Wrath's atmospheric black metal does stick out in that landscape.

But that's extremely ironic. Pure Wrath is a one man band of Januaryo "Ryo" Hardy, and judging by the only other band of his currently featured here, Lament, also a one-man band, you'd think that Ryo is an outlier in Indonesia's brutal death metal scene, but a look at his metal-archives page reveals that he's actually part of numerous brutal death metal bands. None of them here (yet). But for the purposes of this review, none of that really matters. Nor do Vallendusk and Kekal. Hymn To The Woeful Hearts is an atmospheric black metal album that transcends the context of its creation. This could've been released by a Finnish musician and nothing about it would fundamentally change. Which is a bit of a weird statement to make, because in some way I've come to expect that music from outside the usual metal producing countries should hold some signifier of that country. Something to showcase how exotic it is. Hymn To The Woeful Hearts doesn't do that.

I call Hymn To The Woeful Hearts atmospheric black metal, but there's quite some emphasis on the black metal side as compared to merely on the atmospheric side, so there is some straight-forwardness in the approach. The black metal is still very clean and melodic even at its harshest, with the keys giving it a slight symphonic edge. At this point very little of what Pure Wrath does is that novel, and in some ways this is a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of album, where the riffs, the harsh and clean vocals, the drumming, the layering, the atmosphere, the sorrowful tone, they're all at least very competent, and often times very very good, but none of them are really standout qualities. This is precisely the kind of album you call "solid", and that comes with drawbacks and benefits. And so does the album's lack of dependency on its creator's country.

It is worth adding that Ryo did not create this album alone, with drumming credits going to ex-White Ward drummer Yurii Kononov, and additional guitars by Nikolay Kushnir and pianos and cellos by Dice Midyanti. I'm not merely listing the lineup to fill up space (ok, maybe a bit), but with the album also being released on Debemur Morti Productions, it's safe to say that Ryo's skills have won him some recognition. The Indonesian origin is perhaps not related to the music itself, but I reckon it is to how much work was put in achieving that recognition.

Written on 14.03.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 2 users
30.07.2022 - 17:29
Rating: 8

I finally managed to listen to this album as well, and it sounds finnish indeed, but in the good sense, maybe because we dont have "indonesian" in our metal adjectives yet. good that you reminded of Kekal and Vallendusk, should give them a spin as well over the weekend.

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