Screech Owl

Profound Lore
Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2007-01-25

Posted 01/25/2007 - 06:26:57 AM by meatbreak:
 Woah Stuart, this review is nigh-on impenetrable to anyone without a qualification in Candaian mythology and folk-lore. This sounds pretty interesting though (as does most elemental BM), but other than a National Geographic essay on Saskatchewan's quarter million square miles, it's kind of hard to tell what the hell is going on with the music (a good thing in most BM). Their last album and demos were more concerned with occultism and Nitzschean philosophy, so are you saying this new one is more of an Akitsa-like nationalist/environmental album? At first, your mention of the KKK, then later your reference to Dasein had me thinking they'd gone NS as Heidegger's concept of Dasein (amongst a lot of his other ideas) was utilised by Hitler as part of his delirious Nazi philosophy and has certainly resurfaced in a lot of BM through that strain of thought. But then I realised it was part of the scene-setting history lesson. I always think it is worth expressly pointing out whether a BM band are overtly supporting, or even flirting with National Socialist ideals, because it is an abhorrent political stance and is a branch of BM that is in and of itself retrogressive in both lyrics and music - Not actually, the original premise for the BM movement at all (anathema to it in my view), and certainly not a kind of music that deserves any coverage. This discussion reaches boggy and tedious terrain very quickly, so I’ll drop it here.

Having ranted that out, I reiterate – nice sounding review, I’m off to get my diploma in American Aboriginies.
Posted 01/25/2007 - 12:09:09 PM by draglikepull:
 After reading this review I have absolutely no idea what this record sounds like or whether I (or anyone for that matter) would be interested in hearing it. What do the songs sound like? What are the high and low points? What works and what doesn't? Not a single track is mentioned by name, and in fact the closest anything comes is one brief mention of "the title track". I'm left wondering whether this is a record review or creative writing assignment.
Posted 01/25/2007 - 01:20:43 PM by dubidet:
 Well, it IS a creative writing assignment. I wrote this. And your questions are answered therein. The problem is not the "review;" it's that you simply aren't reading it. The sound is described in full; the high points are delineated; lyrical concepts are mentioned and explained; folklore is brought up b/c it is at the root of the music - a cursory glance at the Internet will explain any "impenetrable" concept. This assignment took work; show me the common courtesy and put in some of your own...
Posted 01/25/2007 - 04:02:08 PM by meatbreak:
 Yeah, Draglikepull - there really is a lot of sounds described in this review. I don't know whether you listen to this kind of music much, but I think that, to anyone that does, the soundscapes created by Stewart (Sorry about the misspelling before) are accuratly evocative. i haven't listened to this yet - but I intend to. Canadian Black Metal is a pretty virulent strain and well worth checking out (the aforementioned Akitsa, Revenge, Wood Of Ypres, Axis Of Advance, for example), and if this band are as heavily indebted to their surroundings as Stewart implies, in the same way as Burzum was to theirs/his, then I hope for great things.

And Stewart - I wasn't being antagonistic at all when i said your review was impenetrable, and indeed, i did have a look round the internet for Cree Indian Conservationist proverbs and Eye Of Fire's prphecy before writing - I was simply commenting on the initial shock of reading such elementally rapt prose. But you haven't answered by question - are this band NS or not?
Posted 01/25/2007 - 04:02:30 PM by meatbreak:
 MY question, sorry - not by.
Posted 01/25/2007 - 04:33:35 PM by dubidet:
 Is Wold NSBM? As far as I know, no.
Posted 01/25/2007 - 04:49:08 PM by larsonb23:
 Undoubtely the most over-written review I've read since P4K did Funeral a few years ago. Honestly, shouldn't the point of a review be to induce excitement or understanding regarding the album? We all read good books and listen to good music, so who is this guy trying to impress? I hope just himself, because he isn's succeeding if his goal was otherwise. SO overdone, and really depressing to read, i.e. that this was published.
Posted 01/25/2007 - 05:04:31 PM by dubidet:
Posted 01/25/2007 - 05:51:21 PM by grandbanks:
 Well, larsonb23, I was impressed, so there. What could possibly be depressing about someone who obviously cared enough about this record that they went way beyond the standard "these are the best tracks and here's why" review? I can honestly say that I, as someone who is a hard sell on most metal, am way more interested in checking out this record, because of the review, than I would be with most of the metal reviews I read. Why would you be appalled that this was published? The writing is good, evocative, and sure gives me a good idea of what it will sound like. Are there no other reviews of this album or a band website that will accurately and plainly tell you what you want? Seems unlikely. Kudos to Voegtlin for not dumbing it down. Think you are mistaken if you imagine he is trying to impress anything upon you other than that he likes the record for reasons that go beyond what the typical reviewer is willing to try to express in a record review. We've all got our own opinion, though. Here's another thought: the musicians making music for the most part spend a lot of time making their records, way more than most listeners and critics spend trying to understand them. Why wouldn't you be thrilled that someone was giving a record a fraction of the effort it took to make it, whether you liked the review or not?
Posted 01/26/2007 - 04:54:17 PM by meatbreak:
 larsonb23 - I just listened to this album. This is one of the most metaphorically apt reviews I have ever read. Holy shit. And I thought Extinction had naturalistic atmospherics sewn up. It howls, screams, digs and buries - you can feel the claws roughing up the soil, scrabbling into the dirt to reach who knows what, but they're going for it. Constant feedback on every instrument blurs all the clarity between each, yet you feel them there. The vocals are a torrent of watery sulphur, the weird organ noises a haunting back drop and the guitars a confrontational fore. Take this album out deep into the frigid woods and blast it loud and see if it doesn't summon something inside you. Scared the shit out of me.
Posted 01/29/2007 - 09:49:20 AM by larsonb23:
 I have no doubt that the album is great; it certainly sounds interesting. But I do have doubts about the need for this sentence. Please, just read it and let me know if it has any place in a music review: "Those that call the prairie home are in tune with the earth and things beyond the sky as crusty black rock continues to travel from behind the stars to rest with wheat bales rolled into wagon wheels on open plain." Sure, we know the author likes Cormac McCarthy, and we know he appreciates a certain aesthetic value that the music has succeeding in emulating, but really, what is the point of that sentence? I am not asking the author to 'dumb down' the review, but I am asking for something that isn't unbearably pretentious. I am not bemoaning the author, but rather his need to sound so f*cking important. Write the review, appreciate the music, and get out of the way.
Posted 01/30/2007 - 04:42:01 AM by meatbreak:
 Well I guess pretentious is your interpretation Larsonb. The need for that sentence you quote is qualified by the following sentence: 'Screech Owl makes this connection palpable....Wold are here as keepers of legend, ritual, and myth.' The purpose of that sentence to me serves to place the music into the cosmic semblance of time and matter, to reiterate the great elemental forces that are inherent in the record and that it hopes to convey - a conveyance that seems to have been wholly absorbed and reflected by Stewart. While the language used may be dramatic and not to everyone's tastes, given the dramatic might of the music it is altogether in context of the record. As GrandBanks said, it is great to see reviewers willing to go to such lengths in interpreting the artistic scope of an album through their reviewing of it, rather than rehashing a press release or trying to describe how it sounds and lumping it into a genre. I think maybe that you attempt to place too much of the authors ego into the writing. I guess this could open up a completely different discussion, but should the efforts of a person, to unpack an album using all their literary prowess, be seen as egotistical? Surely it is a writers job (in practical terms) or compulsion (in artistic terms), to keep pushing themselves as creative interpreters of sound and challenge an album on the ideology and vision it is trying to express - or in Stewart's own words; ' to configure the loose matter into something figurative.'
Posted 02/01/2007 - 10:41:00 AM by houroftheowls:
 The question of racialism or fascism in W.O.L.D.'s music is worthwhile considering, not the least as a matter of genre. National Socialism (typically involving love of a nation or volk) is not compatible with Black Metal, where the principles are Satan and hatred. NS music is _not_ BM, although like "unblack metal", it may adopt stylistic elements of BM. (That the concept of Dasein was utilized by the Nazis is an ad hominem critique that adds little to the question of NS per se.) The occult aspects of W.O.L.D., including their environmental mythology, are obtuse and evocative, as art should be. It may not be Black Metal, but it is potent ritual. Reviews of this depth and intensity will make me a regular Stylus reader, despite the web site's frustrating architecture. (Why no page that lists all recent reviews?)
Posted 02/05/2007 - 04:38:58 AM by meatbreak:
 Owls: all the recent reviews (or most of them) are listed down the side, to the right there. They are not all there, but most of them are. Strange you didn't notice. I also happen to think that Stylus is very well presented. Anyway, back to WOLD. I kind of agree with you that this is not black metal, then again, BM is becoming a very experimental genre and the noise elements, of which this Wold album is mostly constructed, are quite sypmathetic to the original cause of pushing music further away from being listeneable (in the general public's ears). Do you mean that environmental mythology is not BM? I think it is quite fundamental to the BM mindset and to Satanism, this connection with the natural elements. Bathory, Thorns and Burzum, for example, all talk about Scandanavian Heathenism and it was of course the intellectual fuel for the church burnings - to reclaim the stolen land and destroy the invading religion. So yes, racialism is key in terms of national heritage and BM. I also agree with you that NS music should not be termed black metal due to the marked philosophical difference, but unfortunately, this seems to be the way of things. A band like Veil for instance, whose sound is deeply indebted to Varg Vikernes are deemed BM when they are proud members of the Pagan Front - a confusing term indeed, since that is actually an Aryan supremacist group and really shuld not be calling themselves 'Pagan' anything. Varg's political ideology may have shifted while in prison, but it should be rememebred that all his guitar based albums had nothing to do with National Socialism at all (His NS albums are all terrible cheesy synthy stuff and I hope he is not welcomed back into the mainstream BM circle on his release).

Wold's album then, and it's intense referencing of native north American culture should be viewed as an extention of pure black metal and one that is pushing sonic boundaries, challenging the listener with hypnotic grooves buried beneath near-impenetrable noise. Blissful.