without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
As an avid fan of genres like dark ambient, drone, noise, industrial, etc., I usually cringe at the thought of a black metal band making an "ambient" album. In most cases, it turns out to be folk melodies mashed into irritatingly distorted, reverb-soaked keyboards, crafting sorry excuses for "ambient soundscapes" that evoke no real atmosphere or mood other than annoyance. Unfortunately, creating "ambient" albums with this formula seems to be a regular hobby for your run-of-the-mill black metal band, with many otherwise good bands shitting out albums of this poor excuse for "ambient" music.
And then there's this motherfucker.
Wrest obviously has a bigger background in dark ambient than most black metal artists, because not only is this album actual ambient music, but it's also masterfully composed and executed. The strongest comparison to another artist that I can draw would be post-rock/drone act Locrian, particularly their early material such as Grey Shrines and Rain of Ashes. Similar to those releases, this album is primarily comprised of haunting, blurry dark ambient soundscapes with heavily delayed and reverberating guitar loops playing over them, sometimes with distorted vocals screeching in the distance.
Amazingly, despite being within the context of traditionally-styled dark ambient, there's a strong sense of composition here. Detail takes a huge part in the atmosphere of this album, with strange guitar feedback and slow-mo electroacoustic sounds springing about in every which direction, diving back into the musical abyss they came from almost as soon as they appear. There are even actual riffs on this album, made to fit into their musical context by being processed through lots of cavernous effects. Examples of this would be the doomy depressive black metal riff slowly dragging its way through the background of "Blood Red and True Part:2," or the melancholic guitar shimmers trudging their way through distorted horns and bass rumbles in "It Comes In Whispers Part:2" (lots of part twos on this album). Other tracks, such as "Particular Dis-Ease," really embody the Lustmord style of things by primarily being built off of long-drawn, eerie drones and strange background noise.
Overall, this is a really good album. I'd very much recommend this to any noise/ambient fans like myself who would like to hear some ambient done right from a black metal band. Fans of Locrian's "Grey Shrines" and Lustmord's legendary "Zoetrope" should get great pleasure from this release, as it really captures the same grotesque, menacing coldness that you probably got from listening to those albums for the first time. Hell, I'd even recommend this to people who are just starting on dark ambient, as its influence from black and doom metal makes it more accessible without sounding like Sunn O))) or their many ripoffs. Wrest only puts out the best!
Highly, highly recommended for the devoted fan. This would be an odd album to start with, as here we have on display a noticeably different expression of artistic virtuosity. I had begun my Wrestful journey with both “Tentacles..”and “10th Level..” as well as couple of split cd’s (Crebain, Iuvens) where we experience an entirely different sonic palate than “..Splinters”. In the previous offerings, there is always present a thrustful energy, entropy in its purest state, a sense that darkness and destruction are imminent, all being precisely articulated by well crafted vocals, drumming, and shredding guitars (I understand that the artist does his own drum work, not opting for a machine, which also lends a more organic element). I am not a musician myself, but whenever I listen to Leviathan, I always wonder what other musicians are thinking when they here this, because the Leviathan sound is so profoundly unique.
But what we have here with “..Splinters” is totally different, as I stated earlier. I immediately ordered this from the record label directly. Being a late comer myself to the BM scene, I wanted to be one of the first to hear a limited release. Profound Lore is known for putting forth quality artists, and I just knew this would not disappoint. (As an aside, if you’re new at appreciating BM music, consider purchasing a quality turntable, and some kick-ass headphones with amp.). So, here delivered to my doorstep comes this beautiful lucid red ablum and promptly to the turntable it goes (headphones please)…. and… what do we have here? This is sheer ambient nirvana. ‘Side A’ of the album puts me into a reverie that takes several days to figure out. I am not sure if this is new material (the album cover states that it was written between 2000-2002), but for my chronology, this is purgatory from the chaos of ‘Whorror’ & ‘Tenth’, life on Earth, if you will. With ‘Splinters’, the listener is brought to a place that is not quite Heaven, but definitely closer to Hell. Through the use of very, very limited percussions, heavy use of atonal electronics, and the ever present guitar (I should note that the guitar work plays a mostly ambient role as well), fading in/out, vexing the listener that the sins of a life wasted on Earth has only brought them to a place to contemplate what is next.
This is a journey. It is a psychologically charged, and provides what I think to be a very up close & personal view of the artist himself. It is also an extraordinarily beautiful album, and the brooding elements only add to the incredible atmosphere it conjures. This is a stunning album, and if you’re lucky enough to acquire this on vinyl, you will not be disappointed.