Metal Storm logo
Dwaal - Never Enough review

Bandcamp music player

18 users:
Band: Dwaal
Album: Never Enough
Release date: September 2023

01. All Masters, All Servants
02. Pseudanthium Aionios
03. Leichenhalle
04. Repentance Of A Bastard
05. You Will Never Be Enough

Dwaal made a mark in 2020 with their impressive debut album, Gospel Of The Vile. Based on their attitude on that record, one might have thought that Dwaal could never have enough vileness, but their sophomore release Never Enough actually turns out to be somewhat more accessible.

Gospel Of The Vile was an imposing record, an at-times glacially paced sludge doom behemoth with a post-metal current running through it. It clocked in at an intimidating 64 minutes, with songs running as long as 16 minutes. The Norwegian 6-piece have gone for a slightly more compact approach this time around; Never Enough is a whole 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. On top of that, their musical formula has been altered; while Gospel Of The Vile was firmly in the doom camp (and nominated accordingly in the 2020 Awards), Never Enough feels first and foremost like a post-metal album. It’s a shift that has made Dwaal a bit more accessible, but how does the change work out for them in terms of quality?

Well, probably the most notable thing to me is that a sound that felt somewhat unique on Gospel Of The Vile is arguably less so here. The sound of Never Enough draws clear inspiration from Cult Of Luna, particularly Vertikal, from the “Vicarious Redemption”-esque spacious tones on “All Masters, All Servants” to the synths on “Repentance Of A Bastard”. They’re not the only reference point, however; there is still a sludgy post-doom grimness to the record that is more in line with a band such as Process Of Guilt, particularly due to the growled vocal style.

It might be less original, but Dwaal’s second album is still quite compelling. The heaviness of “All Masters, All Servants” pounds along at a solid tempo, but has tasteful layering that adds depth to the mix. The Eternal Kingdom-style quieter brooding on “Pseudanthium Aionios” conjures up earthly feels of wandering through forests reminiscent of the album’s cover, while the attention-drawing synth tones add expanse in louder parts of the track. At the same time, these songs, while enjoyable, don’t quite push far enough to make a more long-lasting impression.

On that front, the trio of long songs that close the album (each around the 10-minute mark), have a bit more depth and variety in order to keep listeners more fully engaged. Amidst the grim heaviness of “Leichenhalle”, there is positively tranquil post-rock, and the dainty clean tones add an extra something to the song, particularly as the tone twists and becomes more ominous. “Repentance Of The Bastard”, despite the Vertikal synths, is arguably the closest Dwaal get to the trudging sludge doom approach of Gospel Of The Vile (along with portions of closing song “You Will Never Be Enough”), and that sinister, malevolent trudge helps remind why the debut made such an impact; at the same time, they take the song in a more melodic and multi-faceted direction before it’s over, weaving in shimmering post-rock tremolos for the climactic portion of the track.

On the surface, Never Enough is rather enjoyable; Dwaal do enough to recontextualize the Cult Of Luna influences within songs that don’t sound like straight retreads, and they also manage to fit in moments that elevate the tracks above run-of-the-mill post-metal fodder. This sophomore effort is, however, a bit less remarkable than the debut, and for the most part engages without enthralling. I certainly wouldn’t say that this record is disappointing in any way; on the flip side, I suspect I will be returning to it less frequently than its predecessor.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written on 02.10.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not

Hits total: 763 | This month: 3