We’ve closely followed the upward trajectory of South Africa’s Wildernessking since 2012, spilling many words over everything they have released, from their 2012 debut album The Writing of Gods In the Sand, to their two EPs (…and the Night Swept Us Away and The Devil Within), to their track on one of the Elemental Nightmares splits (“Kings”), to the song “Soundless Longing” (included on a split released early this year by Secret Ceremonies). Now the band have completed work on their second full-length — Mystical Future — and today we’re honored to bring you the first full song from the album: “With Arms Like Wands“.
Beginning with their debut album, Wildernessking have demonstrated a talent for achieving an inventive balance between light and darkness, between moving, atmospheric passages and bursts of intense ferocity, between complex progressive tendencies and hook-filled melodies. And over the course of the shorter releases that followed The Writing of Gods…, they’ve also demonstrated growth and increased maturity in their song-writing, though their debut was so damned good that finding room for improvement might have seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“With Arms Like Wands” is yet another example of the band’s skill at integrating different styles of music within a framework of black metal — and it’s also as intense and intensely moving as anything they’ve done to date.
photo by Eckardt Kasselman
It storms right from the start with a surging hail of riffs, torrential drumming, rapid-fire bass munitions, and throat-tearing acidic howls. After that rousing start, the storm subsides, passing into a somber yet poignant mid-section that features a heart-wrenching guitar solo as Keenan Nathan Oakes’ shrieks reach new heights of soul-rending anguish. But as good as the first half of the song is, it still hasn’t reached its peak.
The power of the music builds again, driven by an intense drum performance, with layers of rippling guitar chords magnifying the music’s emotional appeal. The song reaches its crescendo in a high, trilling guitar melody that reaches out and seizes attention in a way that’s electrifying — and even then, one more affecting guitar melody still awaits before the song fades away.
As a first single from the album, “With Arms Like Wands” is a great choice — but it’s only the first of many gems in a superb album that’s going to re-focus the world’s attention on a very talented band from a far-away place (and we will have much more to say about it when the time is right)
Mystical Future was recorded in Cape Town by Wildernessking and Daniel Thackwray, and it was mixed and mastered in California by the famed Jack Shirley. The album will be released on vinyl by Sick Man Getting Sick Records, on cassette by Grimoire Cassette Cvlture and Monotonstudio Records, and on CD by Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions.
Pre-orders for tape will begin in November (scheduled to be released in December), pre-orders for vinyl in December (scheduled to be released in January), and pre-orders for CD in January 2016 (scheduled to be released in February). For further updates, follow these pages:
And below the music player you will also find the lyrics to “With Arms Like Wands”.
Deep into the sea of night I heard you sing
Your presence eluding me yet I still dream
To drink of your wines, to run the rivers dry
I have found myself begging for more
With arms like wands you rise from the cold earth
With arms like wands you gather all the moons
With arms like wands, stranded in your mystery
With arms like wands, the folly of a thousand lifetimes
I follow you
Surging waves of grief
Frozen winter’s will
Stretched out on the floor
When and where… did you go?
Return to me