Mar 122021

(Andy Synn opts to finish off the week with a last-minute review of the brand new album from Wesenwille, out now on Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions.)

I doubt it’s going to be much of a shock or a revelation when I say that, historically, much of Black Metal’s (f)ire and fury has been fuelled by disaffection and dissatisfaction with the modern world.

Whether it’s materialism, consumerism, capitalism… pick your poison really… many practitioners of “the black arts” seem to consider themselves above and beyond such mundane matters, which is probably one reason (among many) why so much Black Metal seeks to recapture or rediscover the glories of the pagan past… regardless of whether those glory days ever actually truly existed.

On the flip-side, however, there are still those artists who, rather than simply rejecting the trials and trappings of modernity out of hand, choose instead to embrace and channel the alienation and estrangement of our empty existence into their music, exploring the urban concrete jungle of now rather than the great vast forest of then.

And A Material God, the second album from Dutch duo Wesenwille, is the latest attempt to provide a fitting soundtrack to our everyday experiences of existential dread and post-industrial ennui.

Continue reading »

Feb 142021


Someone (besides Andy Synn) must have noticed that yesterday I posted a round-up of new songs and videos that I named “Seen and Heard on Valentine’s Day“, when in fact yesterday was not Valentine’s Day. I conceived of various justifications for this, including the assertion that I live in the future. But the truth is that what I did was probably dictated by my subconscious mind: Sundays here are for Shades of Black, even a Valentine’s Day Sunday, and I sure as hell couldn’t call this “Valentine’s Day Shades of Black”.

Let’s face it, black metal is not about love, even when it’s the kind of more modern blackened metal that wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s more about bitterness, hate, and hopelessness. When it becomes celebratory, it’s usually envisioning the savage triumph of the Fallen Angel over the deluded sheep of humanity and the institutions that have herded them, or the death of the cosmos itself.

Well, those observations may not cover the entire spectrum of black metal, especially in the modern era, but you know what I mean. Generally speaking, black metal isn’t about hearts and flowers unless the hearts have been freshly ripped from chest cavities and the flowers bloom at night and are poisonous. So, I’m just going to continue pretending that yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and we’ll say nothing more about it today.

As usual, I’ve struggled to make the following selections because so much worthy new music surfaced over the last week. There was a lot of other news as well, including the announcement that the long-running Serbian band The Stone will have a new album named Kosturnice coming out in late March, and that Necros Christos have announced their permanent disbanding. Nevertheless I did my best with these choices, and of course you should feel free to use the Comment section to point out other new black metal that I should have paid attention to in print. Continue reading »

Jan 312021


What you have before you is a selection of advance tracks from forthcoming releases and, at the end, the stream of a new EP. If that weren’t enough to occupy you (and it probably is), I have in mind a second part to this column that includes a bunch of complete new releases, most of which I found stupendously unsettling but also fascinating. Since I haven’t put that Part together yet, I can’t confidently say when you’ll see it, but by tomorrow at the latest.

WESENWILLE (Netherlands)

The first track I’ve picked, “The Descent“, exhibits some favorable developments as compared to this Utrecht duo’s first album, which caught our attention in 2018 and is still worth your time. The new song is a scorcher but also adventurous, creating moods that are dismal and twisted, as well as maniacally glorious and chillingly hallucinatory. The tempos and riffing are in constant flux, while the vocals are perpetually unhinged in their fury. The blazing yet bleak finale is downright breathtaking. Continue reading »

Mar 222018


Wesenwille is a new project that has brought together the talents of two men based in Utrecht, the Netherlands — drummer D. Schermann (a.k.a. ValrWeltschmerz, Wrang, Grafjammer, Iron Harvest) and guitarist/vocalist R. Schmidt (Verval, Iron Harvest, Apotelesma, ex-White Oak). With bass and additional vocals performed by M. Van Der Werff, they have recorded a debut album — I: Wesenwille — which will be released on April 27 by Redefining Darkness Records.

Stylistically, their music draws strongly upon elements of black metal, but with a modern approach that incorporates other ingredients as well, providing an experience that is harsh, barbaric, and unsettling, but also engrossingly atmospheric, emotionally evocative, and quite memorable. The band identify musical influences in the realms of Svartidauði, Svart Crown, Deathspell Omega, and Sweden’s Shining.

Wesenwille’s dynamic approach to songwriting and performance is vividly displayed on what might be considered the album’s centerpiece — a 10-minute track named “Golden Rays of the Sun” that fully earns every minute of the attention it requires of you. And we’re fortunate to bring you a stream of that song today. Continue reading »