Music can cause us to move and shake, to throw our heads back in joy or hammer them like ecstatic pistons, caught up in the thrill of being alive. Music also has the capacity to fire the imagination, to cause our minds to spontaneously conceive unbidden images and experiences that never actually happened, to carry us away to places we’ve never visited and that may not actually exist, to create spells that may haunt us for reasons we might not be able to readily identify.
Both kinds of music — the fun kinds and the more profound and mysterious varieties — can stay with us, but the latter often seem to settle in more deeply and to make mental and emotional connections that are longer-lasting. It’s fair to say that the new Wells Valley track we’re presenting today is of that variety, an immersive and spellbinding experience that sends the mind’s eye off into realms of the imagination while also evoking powerful emotions that might not be anywhere near the surface of your feelings when the song begins.
Because “Pleroma” is that kind of experience, it’s entirely fitting that this Portuguese band has presented it through a transfixing video (directed by Guilherme Henriques) that is itself a flight of the imagination, a sequence of surreal visions that sometimes seem to lurk at the edge of reality, reminiscent of sights that sometimes seem familiar but are bent from the normal frames of reference, but sometimes seem utterly alien — and frightening.
Wells Valley describe “Pleroma“, which is the second track from their new album Reconcile the Antinomy, as “a chasm of voluminous, haunting atmospheres that seems poured from another realm.” And so it is.
The song is massively heavy, and its titanic chords, bomb-like drum detonations, and grim, groaning melodies seem to foreshadow the approach of some terrible calamity. Etched with eerie, shimmering guitar vibrations that create a feeling of building tension, it spawns visions of crouching and quivering in fear before a dark looming immensity that might be a natural catastrophe or might be the intrusion of a Lovecraftian god from another dimension.
When the tension breaks, the drums hammer and blast, the bass rumbles the spine, the guitars become a roiling paroxysm of unnerving dissonance, and the vocalist screams and shrieks in paralyzing sounds of anguish and wretchedness. It’s as if life is being blasted away or ruined by that which was feared. When the music ebbs, and cycles back through the mammoth stomping movements and their accents of wrenching tension, it’s no respite from the ruination, merely momentary visions of the wreckage before renewed assaults of ruinous intensity, which simultaneously raise other visions — imaginings of terrible grandeur to accompany the feelings of despair.
If you’re like us, you’ll find this song haunting as well as cataclysmic, the kind that won’t leave you alone after it ends.
Wells Valley‘s music has evolved over time, and has become a multi-faceted variant of post-metal that now employs elements of avant-garde, sludge, doom, industrial, and psychedelic metal, with black metal in the mix as well. Their lyrics are inspired by cosmology, hermeticisim, and theology. The line-up is spare — only vocalist/guitarist Filipe Correia, drummer Mau, and bassist Pedro Lopes — but their sound is overpowering on multiple levels.
As mentioned, “Pleroma” is the second track from the band’s new album. Below we’ve included a stream of the first one, “Paragon” (which we wrote about here), along with our premiere.
Reconcile the Antinomy will be released on November 8th by Black Lion Records, and it’s available for pre-order now. Black Lion identifies Swarm of the Lotus, Triptycon, Nine Inch Nails, Converge, Neurosis, Blut Aus Nord, and Cult of Luna among the key influences for the music.
EU Store: https://wellsvalleyblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/reconcile-the-antinomy
US Store: https://indiemerch.com/blacklion