Friday, February 26, 2010


Imagine you've been taken from your home in the middle of the night. You've been blindfolded and gagged; you've been bound both hands and feet and have no idea where you are or what time it is. It is so very cold; your restraints aren't tight or horribly constricting but they allow for little to no movement. You wake up frightened because there's no point of reference and no clues as to the situation. Suddenly something clicks on and the world starts to spin, woozy and nauseating and painful. You're slowly slammed from one surface to another, like you're tumbling in some sort of drunken circle, almost like someone has thrown you into a human-sized dryer. But there's no heat. Rather a number of pockets rip themselves open and a flood of screaming cold air washes in, a flux of snow and sleet raining against you and soaking you in their heavy, chilling miseries. Around and around you turn, becoming further drenched in cold and flake. And then suddenly it's over, and you're thrown out into the stillness. Your blindfold falls from your eyes and mysteriously your bonds come unbound. There is no else around and everything is pitch black. You know it's night but you don't know how. There is nothing. The landscape is open and dead and vast. The darkness is infinite. Still the wind wails and whips, but the snow has wound itself down into a withered collection of small tornadoes blowing here and there. Wolves howl in the distance. It's so fucking cold. You are growing more and more uneasy. Not frightened but very uncomfortable and physically drained. You hear something cutting through the wind. Something humanoid but not human. You don't know how but you you know this thing wants to abuse you. It wants to degrade you. In the midst of all this winter and all this night this thing wants to reduce you. This is what Wold sounds like.
For lack of a better reference many people group Wold in under the black metal genre but their relationship to the sound is aesthetic at best. Certainly they capture the wintry, isolated aspect of BM better than most practitioners but there are no songs to speak of in their catalogue, only roaring noise assemblages that may or may not at one point have been actual compositions. With each release they've refined this devolution further, sinking deeper and deeper into a pit of pure white noise as nullifying and entrancing as it is harsh and impenetrable. "Working Together For Our Privacy" is an EP follow-up to last year's massive "Stratification" and continues the bleak path plotted out on that record's sojourn. "Working..." opens up with a piece that SOUNDS more song-like than Wold have been in some time, with the hints of drums and percussion cut up and edited into some beyond-the-winds clang and howl while the fuzzy walls of UHF white-outs blast away over everything. It's all looped so all the sonics just cycle in against themselves, creating a dizzying swirl of possible but improbably real time noises. It doesn't recede in volume across its three tracks but "Working..." becomes ever gentler as it progresses, lulling you into a sort of auditory snowblindness as chilly and burying as a mountain slough. I'm unsure of the exact intent behind this release but this mellower approach is an interesting one; i'm impressed that Wold have sacrificed none of the violence in their achievement of this torpor. It isn't without unease, either-the feeling that something bad will happen is never very far from the surface, and in that respect i see them moving ever closer to the ideologies on display in recent Prurient albums. Not the defining work (that would be the masterpiece "Screech Owl") but a satisfying detour from a challenging band.

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