(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Ukrainian band White Ward, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on September 20.)
To say that White Ward are the band Ulver might be today if they hadn’t totally abandoned the Black Metal aesthetic would, probably, be an over-simplification.
Both bands are, after all, distinct entities in their own right, and to imply that the former are simply a more metallic variant of the latter would be to do them a major disservice.
And, yet, there’s more than a hint of Perdition City to the Ukranian quintet’s new album, whose unusual mix of biting riffs, moody jazz inflections and neo-noirish vibes purposefully eschews the more “traditional” aspects of Black Metal – the nature worship, the rustic spirituality – in favour of a sound that’s distinctly urban in both tone and texture, all neon and glass and cold concrete.
But whereas Perdition City was billed as “music to an interior film”, this one is much more physical and grounded. It’s the soundtrack to the world outside your window, a world of digital prophets and ephemeral profits, social media sirens and vicarious virtual violence.
A world where what we put in no longer equals what we get out. Where what we give no longer balances what we take. A world on the brink of total Love Exchange Failure.