Wormlust - Svarthol
No label
Ambient Black Metal
1 songs (16:35)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Charles
Surprise of the month
This is the obscure product of an (at present) one man band from Iceland; a demo recording that according to the project’s website threatens to combine with 2009’s Seven Paths to form the first ever Wormlust LP. That is an enticing prospect, because this is the kind of esoteric release that could drive you slightly mad. Svarthol is a single track of ambient black metal, 16 minutes long, which has really captured my imagination. It combines moody atmospherics with perplexing compositional ideas into a feverish quarter-hour of music that keeps you intently focused on the sinister visions that it vivdly narrates, a short story of isolated insanity and desolate horror expressed through sound.

So let me try and take you through some of this. We open with a slow heartbeat, and a crystal-clear wash of meandering guitar reverberations. This feels both warm but intensely uneasy, the latter sensation winning out when this fades suddenly out, to be replaced by uncomfortable, formless whistling sounds. Like The Clangers in a 1950s mental asylum. But now jagged, hoarse black metal starts to claw at the sound emitting from your speakers, like an uncomfortable memory under failing suppression. This isn't a blistering, pit-igniting entry that scatters the ambient cobwebs. Instead, it falteringly ejaculates distorted noise before abruptly stopping, and then frantically grasping again, eventually establishing itself as a lumbering wall of sound; non-riffs awkwardly shifting beats and pitch like Deathspell Omega lapsing into a vomit-flecked drunken stupor. And those whistling noises still whirr maddeningly overhead.

As we progress deeper, Svarthol becomes something more recognisably- perhaps more conventionally- black metal, but still luxuriating in its more esoteric realms. I hear a little of The Ruins of Beverast in there; murky, oppressive progressions and ghostly blasting, soaked in fuzz and misery.

The closing few minutes here resurrect the exhausted opening ambiance, but now introducing a hissing, pulsating drum machine and with it an alien, industrial feel. That is, until the whole piece is killed off by the very last minute of abrupt, buzzsaw black metal. Throughout, Svarthol is prone to such sudden trail offs and re-entries, and these add quite appropriately to the generally unstable mood this demo inflicts upon itself and the world around it. This is a bit of a shock, all told; a gripping and original piece of music from a project I hope to hear much more of soon.

NB: The demo can be downloaded at the band’s website, see link above.

Killing Songs :
Charles quoted no quote
Other albums by Wormlust that we have reviewed:
Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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