Wrnlrd "Death Drive" 10"Posted on Monday, December 20th, 2010 @ 6:59am » permalink
The latest from Arlington, VA's experimental "black metal 'cause there's nowhere else to put it" troupe Wrnlrd (once more via Flingco Sound System), the "Death Drive" EP was largely formed using outtakes from last year's "Myrmidon" album. That being said, like all other Wrnlrd outings to date, there's evident shape-shifting growth and progression here, and it's gotten to the point now where the "What the fuck!?" moments are more commonly induced by increasingly concrete riffs and prominent basslines (How about that opening of "Grave Dowser"!?) crawling forth from the bubbling mass. And in this case that "bubbling mass" includes the expected doses of dizzyingly panned clashes of abstract riffs and textures alongside operatic female singing, ambient blips and drones, death march synths, faux horns, accordion, and then some. For example, "Midnight Ride" bends vocal contributions from Integrity frontman Dwid Hellion into the same ascending/descending spirals of Wrnlrd's bizarre guitar work, while making pedal steel guitar sound more like warped and manipulated 60's pop music. And the chilling piano interlude "Luster" goes from sounding like the eeriest hotel lounge music on earth to the soundtrack of an incredibly somber and depressing nightmare reality.
I've had a number of email conversations with the core member of Wrnlrd in the past month or so in which he's raised the question as to why parallels have yet to be drawn between these works and Celtic Frost's "Into the Pandemonium", but I don't really see it. There's no "Mexican Radio" cover here. No "I Won't Dance". No weird, pseudo-industrial tr(h)ip-hop mixes. No, if portions of a Wrnlrd release are fucked up and disjointed and don't seem to make sense, it's intentional. There's a reason and a purpose, and it all flows into the "grand scheme".
Don't even bother listening to the album if you're not going to conduct at least a cursory investigation of the accompanying "Operator's Guide to the Death Drive of Wrnlrd": A 14-page .pdf littered with an assortment of handwritten notes; lyrics; peculiar sketches; and small, evocative photographs. This booklet is actually what draws me in the most. "Death Drive" is said to be the second to last outing from Wrnlrd, and if that is indeed the case let me be the first to call for a posthumous full-length book that outlines the group's entire recorded output – nay, it's very existence – in this manner. Outstanding.
In the grin of a sickening moon we will waste our lives spinning wheels of alien need…