Saturday, June 12, 2010

Welter In Thy Blood – Through the Fields of Mourning (Shadowgraph Records)

With so many atmospheric and raw/lo-fi black metal acts over saturating the genre and leading to the predictable complaints against it, there still are a few like Welter In Thy Blood that dare to progress beyond limitations and still manage to be clearly in the style. Don’t expect the typical Xasthur/Leviathan/Dodsferd/Burzum regurgitations here, this stuff is in a universe of it’s own creation. I’m a fan of the dismal and grim atmospheres of the previous acts mentioned, hugely in fact, but with so many bands imitating those forerunners it makes it almost impossible to remember the first intense experiences that captivating some of us to begin with. Just because it’s marketed as misanthropic and bleak, or better yet “cult”, doesn’t mean anything really except that it’s a coin flip as to what you’re really getting. Most times it’s some screech owl poser Satanist in a basement or woodshed venting as his nuts are being bitten off by a squirrel.

So what makes Welter in Thy Blood better than the others, or at least a stand out? Well…several things come to mind when listening to this release actually: in places the drums are actually in front of the entire mix giving it an unusually “live” feel not to mention a certain 3-D sound almost; the layering of thunderstorm sounds, what could be field recordings, and some ambient electronic hum throughout tracks that range anywhere from 4 minutes all the way to 30 minutes make it as much a dark ambient release as a soundtrack to a foggy night in a graveyard; some classically abysmal black metal that reminds me of something recorded in a cave or a live setting, but the mastering and production is not lo-fi, so the result is actually that of being there in the room as the tracks are being laid out!!!!!!

The upped production quality takes the raw and frosted sound and makes it clear, crisp, and actually hollow, it echoes as if it’s leaking out from deep within some chasm and never loses any of the grim feeling. If anything the production here makes the haunting looming feeling of pure isolation intensified and the guitar sound goes from buzzing distorted standard fare to being this morbid funereal doom-like entity.

Welter in Thy Blood is a project that’s taking ambient black metal to the next dimension of disparity. The vocals sound almost as if they are literally being frozen as they are done, they have this slow motion freeze-frame effect and definitely sound like something was buried alive and is self-resurrecting to seek revenge. There is always a very ominous feel in the sound, like a soundtrack to the waking of the ungratefully dead on a late autumn evening. Yet again an act dares to wade through unchartered waters fusing Power electronic/dark ambient/industrial with the truly haunting sounds of black metal/death/grind and doom to create a cataclysmic experience of the darkside within us all. The imagery and narratives concocted in these releases are unrivaled in terms of content, substance, ingenuity, and pure terror inducing. Grab these releases up quickly, take a couple of sedatives of your choice and embark on the thriller of a lifetime. You’ll possibly wet yourself at some point so save yourself the embarrassment and lay on something non-absorbant. If Hitchcock did audio it’d sound like some of this stuff, true suicidal urges…

Essential for fans of: Gnaw Their Tongues, A Taste For Decay, Yen Pox, Navicon Torture Technologies, Nortt, Xasthur, Portal, Indigo Larvae, Megaptera, and everything remotely related to those mentioned.

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