Wolfmangler - Dwelling In A Dead Raven For The Glory Of Crucified Wolves
Aurora Borealis
NeoFolk, Drone
6 songs (51:22)
Release year: 2006
Aurora Borealis
Reviewed by Goat

For all that the new wave of Folk music - commonly referred to as the much more wieldy Neofolk - seeks to portray human existence through the lens of traditional sounds, very little of it truly pushes the constraints of the genre. Most are, truth be told, content to exist in their own little niche, merely existing rather than going out and being noticed, as some of the genre’s more controversial bands are noted for (Death In June especially). It’s a relief, then, to listen to Wolfmangler without bracing yourself for yet another bunch of no-hopers that sound like Morris Dancers who’ve just been told the village fete has been called off. Instead, there’s something genuinely sinister at work here. With Dead Raven Choir frontman D. Smolken on bass and vocals, the band is as much in debt to Sunn O))) as they are to Fairport Convention.

Over the course of the six songs on offer, the band varies little, but makes every note count. Vocals teeter on the edge of sanity, running along behind the music in an eerie stream-of-consciousness jumble, at times barely audible, at times resonating powerfully. The music itself is a slow dirge, mixing flute, trombone and bassoon in with the usual bass and drums to create an unearthly drone, very different from the glacial tones of the genre’s usual stalwarts, yet with every bit of atmospheric effect. To the uninitiated, this sounds like the brass band from hell; once you’re used to it Wolfmangler is oddly relaxing, taking you on a funeral march through the strangest forest you’ll encounter this side of Black Metal.

There’s little point in trying to dissect the songs; as with all atmospheric experiences, this is best taken when you have the time to appreciate the whole album. Having said that, even the washing up takes on sinister hues when viewed with Dwelling In A Dead Raven… playing in your ears. There’s a very certain audience that will enjoy Wolfmangler’s music, the complete opposite of those people that listen to New Age pan-pipes albums with names like ‘Total Relaxation’. On the other hand, it’s perhaps when you’re not enjoying it that the full effect becomes apparent. Either way, it’s worth it for the experience alone, making this review rather superfluous. Recommended for all.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 81 / 100
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