Jan 17, 2012
Wyrm – Paramount ...
For those who don’t know it already, Drowning label is run by music lover Danny Kreutzfeldt, it features bands from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and also from Asia, it is devoted to doom and drone as basic genres and distributes its releases as free digital downloads.
Last year I had gone through Black Cloud Of Becoming, the latest, fascinating album/tape by the Danish experimental doom-death act Sol.
Other artists share their own experimentations in the fields of black metal, drone, doom, sludge and electronics via Drowning. This is the case for bands like Sick To The Back Teeth, Depriver, Pest Lives, Dead Black Arms and also Nernes/Skagen, a Norwegian project involving Kjetil Nernes, guitarist in Arabrot, and experimental artist Stian Skagen.
Recently a new entity entered the roster of this cool label, Wyrm.
Wyrm is a rather new project by Texas-based Bryan Ferguson, who may be not completely new to some of you who maybe know or read about his other cool, heavy, obscure and hypnotic doom drone band, Bring Me The Head Of Orion, here on Doommantia.
The experience of Bring Me The Head Of Orion finished and Wyrm is now the new active project by multi-instrumentalist Bryan Ferguson. The band/project has an official page on Bandcamp, where you can thoroughly explore Wyrm’s output since 2010.
However you’ll find Wyrm’s debut full-length album Paramount on label Drowning.
Album Paramount comprises four long tracks unfolding over 38 minutes of ethereal slow-paced, drony, spacey dark ambient vibes, where slowness conveyed by some heavy sounds (riffings with effects, dull tribal drumming, keyboards, etc.) is counterbalanced by the lightness and the drowsiness of electronic space drone sounds. The careful use of industrial noise and hints to black metal-inspired grimness help in breaking the magic, in poisoning the honey and add an icy-cold sense of alienation.
The titles of the four suites, lasting between 7 and +12 minutes, are halfway between menacing and alienating. For example, we range from “A Vulture Brooding Over White Bones” to “Cursed Ground Above Which Even A Murder Will Not Fly” up to the melancholic view expressed by a title like “We Cannot Hear The Stars”. The fourth track, Ouroburous Harpegnathos, involves Greek names evoking the perpetual circle of the renewal of life and ants, one of the types of animals sometimes evoked for seemingly absurd, frenetic activity especially when observed from a distance.
The first track starts with a slow but growing drony sound derived from blending echoing and mesmerizing, solemn melodies with some disturbing noise. The echoing effects help in broadening the imaginary horizon depicted by this beautiful suite. The vultures in the title seem to fluctuate on wind currents thousands of meters over wide open spaces more than being stuck on poor dry bones laying on the sand. The simple and repetitive oscillation of the leading melody is not completely numbing because there’s a distant, dull but vibrating drumming in the background that is both enhancing the sense of solemnity as well as keeping the attention by slightly but effectively varying the rhythm of the beating. Like thousand tribal drums perfectly playing together and sending their distant call up at the vulture floating in the sky …
Since from its beginning the second, very long (+12 minutes) track evokes a more sinister atmosphere by means of the slightly dissonant drony-noisy leading melody. Alienation is induced in the first part by an almost acute, distorted keyboard-like sound vibrating over the background dull drony base. Halfway across the track keyboards briefly turn into that characteristic gloomy sound employed by occult doom bands like Abysmal Grief or retro prog/doom/dark rock bands like Malombra. Towards the end of the tracks sounds get messed up, and noisy. The pace is rather slow, the sound is not aggressive at all, but the sense of oppression is great and the atmosphere is dark, sometimes sepulchral, and freezing till the end.
The third track bears the melancholic but charming title We Cannot Hear The Stars. This is a +10 minutes-long suite starting with a relieving although rapidly hypnotizing, when not numbing, endlessly cyclic soft, minimalist melody which, again, gets poisoned by drony, dissonant industrial noise. The resulting, layered sounds are more affine to dynamic electronic post-rock than he ethereal to doomy dark ambient style of the previous tracks. Anyway, as in the previous tracks, the wavy intensity of the superposed sounds makes the latter almost “tri-dimensional”: they create the soundscape, e.g., the distant cosmos where, according to the title, we are supposed to be looking at, or maybe desperately longing for billions of distant stars with our hungry but feeble eyes and our nose up …
The album ends with another dark and solemn suite lead by multiple keyboard-like sounds and gritty electronic background noise. I spite of what I wrote just now, the resulting melody is light, or better is dense like a fog but is as light as mist. And as a scented mist, it fades away, softly, into silence after a bit more than 6 minutes …
Wymr’s sound is definitely less doomy, and less punishing than in Bring Me The Head Of Orion. Wyrm’s style has been defined as “ kraut-doom droning black metal”. Actually this debut is rich in spacey sounds and great atmospheres encompassing ambient, shoegaze, doom, industrial and black metal. For me the latter is not materialized by actual, “orthodox” black metal sounds, at least in this album compared to what I heard in some tracks of the demos on Bandcamp. However I caught a “sense” of black metal in Paramount as well thanks to the occasional sepulchral to sulphureous atmospheres evoked, together with the rawness of the small but essential amount of noise employed.
This album is not unbearably long, develops a definitely composite but minimalist style but it is unexpectedly various in its shades. I am normally not too crazy about ambient, drone albums, either dark, ethereal or noisy, where “nothing happens” for 15 minutes. But I do enjoy this kind of experimental music when the musician I able to create different soundscapes in a dynamic way and adding flavours to the melodies, no matter how drowsy or mind-warping they are. For example, I am not able to appreciate the style of bands like Sigillum Dei whereas I enjoy the variety in experimentation as in dark ambient bands like Adamennon.
In Wyrm’s outputs, both on Paramount and in the demos on Bandcamp, I also found quite enjoyable the effect of the balanced, not excessive amount of noise employed. In Paramount noise summed up with doom distortion, it made the sound gritty, “solid” and sometimes almost “vintage”, as if it came from an old dusty heavy black bakelite LP.
Wyrm’s debut release Paramount is out on label Drowning since the end of November 2011 and is available for free download on the label’s website well worth exploring for Wyrm and the other releases on offer. 8.5/10
Review by Marilena Moroni
Wyrm @ Drowning
Drowning Official Website
Wyrm @ Bandcamp