Wolok - Caput Mortuum
Those Opposed Records
Industrial Black Metal
7 songs (43:40)
Release year: 2009
Wolok, Those Opposed Records
Reviewed by Goat

As much as Black Metal touches upon worlds strange and insane, it's very rare that the genre actually crosses over into sheer dementia, but French trio Wolok have more than managed it here. Their third album, Caput Mortuum, is the kind of insane work that you'd get if you were to lock Shining's Niklas Kvarforth up with nothing but Blut Aus Nord albums for a month - it's somewhere between the UFO BM of Angst Skvadron and the dissonant meanderings of the infamous Frenchmen. If you ever wanted a Black Metal soundtrack to alien abduction and dissection, this would certainly do the trick, the opening Bacterium Dei bursting into life from a distorted monastic chant, diseased and uncanny dissonance spilling from the guitars like pus from a wound, whilst Luc Mertz' twisted vocals and background effects crawl and writhe over each other like some extraterrestrial kind of insect. It's some of the strangest music I've heard in a while, near-Industrial in style but unrelentingly weird and without a doubt something that should be turned off and destroyed with fire if you're at all inclined to bad dreams or nervousness.

Assuming you're not, things get stranger from then on whilst only changing slightly. In Vacuo starts out almost epic in a very wrong and sick way, a slow tempo gradually gathering speed until it's racing, before collapsing back in on itself, too sickly to run for long without losing breath. The following Transubs(a)tantiation takes a more Industrial tone, shuffling into life like a zombie Godflesh and taking an oddly melodic tone with the shimmering keyboards, almost Avant-Garde in the way it falls and trips across the room into your ears. We hear the chanting of before clearly on Anawyrm, before a raw Industrial sturm und drang begins to clutter - the rise and fall ominous in its relentlessness as the chanting is buried beneath a mountain of darkness. If the sudden screams and wails of interlude Repellence Serum don't make you jump you're not listening properly, it's as simple as that, and whilst the blastbeats and bass twangs of Necro Priapus Worship may sound a little easier to grasp, the way the track builds and fizzes around psychedelically is more than horrific when the full effect is realised.

It takes a few listens to realise it, but Caput Mortuum's strengths lie not in the varied assault which your ears are fooled into hearing the first time you hear the album, but the way that the relentless weirdness of it all holds you down and whispers words of madness into your ears. Final track Incision offers no release, as the music grows more ambient and chaotic, swirling madly. The incision isn't being cut to let the sickness out, but to allow more to enter! That about sums the album up, really; it belongs in that subgenre of atmospheric Black Metal that only the very disturbed enjoy listening to on anything approaching a regular basis - the rest of us listen once, shudder, and then put it away, content to brag that we survived it once and lived through the experience. Fans of Blut Aus Nord's dissonant duo MoRT and Odinist especially should hear this, as it's more focused and just as bonkers.

Killing Songs :
Bacterium Dei, Transubs(a)tantiation, Necro Priapus Worship, Incision
Goat quoted 83 / 100
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