Why is it that we always like to return to known values? Some of it is – I guess – the doubtful comfort of familiarity. Soundscapes that come with a set of rulez that were painted in hellish runes on blackened walls eons ago.
Visions of burning churches, sweaty halls filled with screaming fans that are egged on by hairy beasts with corpse paint on their faces. With rasped messages howled at them in often intelligible growls. All of that comes with that whiff of the unknown, hints of the underworld suddenly visible on stage. Garnished with riff patterns that filtered down from Scandinavia a long time ago already.
But then, this is Scandinavia. Because Wormlight here joins us from Sweden, so we get our blackened fare directly from the horse’s mouth. And besides, who can resist a Black Metal band with a drummer who calls himself King Antichrist, right? Ha, that will make the Satan cultists of Sanctus Diavolis go pale with envy.
Already their EP Bloodfields and – later – the full-length Wrath of the Wilds managed to capture this crew’s attention. A band headed by Tiamat Invictuz whose involvement with Sons Ov Omega already garnered quite some attention over here.
So now, their newest piece Nightmother stepped right up to the plate. And – again – there’s no mystery. The record is that Scandinavian Black Metal brand we crave. Maybe not the old Bathory style, yet it surely somewhat reminisces of things that bands like Gorgoroth produced. And this particular leopard really doesn’t like to change its spots. At least not too much.
The RMR deckhands were indeed able to discern some change in style. Compared to the aforementioned Wrath of the Wilds, this piece seems to pull even more influences from that long-defunct past. Whilst its predecessor thrived on those thundering growls that came with somewhat astonishing melodics, this new record here is much more – traditional.
That’s not to say that you’ll find a born-again Burzum on your turntable all of a sudden. The abundant riffs still carry their fair share of melody, and Nightmother contains more solos than most. Yet all of that jazz disappears much more into the mix than was the case before. So, their offering became more of an alloy than just a heap of razor-sharp lumps of ore Wormlight likes to lob at you.
Yet, this gallivanting about the soundscapes traditional Black Metal occupied before may also have its downsides. Unfortunately, all that drive back into times past led to a somewhat monotonous delivery that cries out for more variation. A rock-solid production that somehow sails along its Extreme Metal waters on an even keel. Too even for some. So much so that the record kinda fades into the background after a while. Background music? Not quite, that would be blasphemous, right? But you get my drift.
Even if gems like Fateweaver suddenly pop up out of nowhere. And this one comes with a solo and a few hints towards Melodeath, albeit a very darkened version. Aeon of the Wolves made another pretty heavy impression on the RMR deckhands. Powerful, speedier than before, and – behold – yet another solo where there should be none.1)
So, Nightmother sports a fatter mid-section with a tad more meat on those frugal bones. And the B-Side definitely ramps up those amps some more to meet former glories. But will this be enough to catapult the record out into orbit to inundate the world with its blackened message? I guess this will depend on the eyes of the beholder, and this crew here would have liked more red meat instead of a somewhat more barebone version of its former self.
Ultimately however, Wormlight yet again provided a solid Black Metal album. Caustic and rough-hewn, the record deliciously scrapes across your eardrums with its overheated alloy. And its message rumbles comfortably along your stomach with the raw power of juicy riffs, a mean bass, and – indeed – drum work that never leaves the pit.
And that is exactly what our blackened souls craved these days.
|1.||It’s a riff and solo fest, that record. -Ed.|