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Ethereal Majesty - 85%

tahu157, December 5th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Do you ever listen to something and suddenly find yourself transported to another world? Have you ever felt like an album was able to paint a sonic landscape that you felt like you could see even though it was made of sound? That is a pretty sappy way to view music, I know. However, every once in a while a band will pop up on my radar that truly does give put vivid images in my head with their music. Wędrujący Wiatr are one of these bands.

Now, in the past I have knocked black metal bands for being all about the atmosphere and not balancing that with any significant amount new, interesting, or innovative musicianship. I have to confess that I also have that complaint of this album, to a degree. As far as instrumentation goes there really is nothing on this album that has not been done before. You get pretty standard atmospheric black metal riffing and drumming throughout the album. There are no solos to speak of. The production is intentionally hazy. On the whole instrumentation is all very standard and safe. Competent and solid, but not new. On paper this album is not much different from any other black metal record of similar sound.

HOWEVER, in this case in particular I do not really mind. As I mentioned above, this album, through its atmosphere, vividly paints images and scenes. The band translate the title of the album to "Of mountains, lakes and nightly paths" and those scenes and images are exactly what pop into the head of the listener. As cheesy as it sounds I feel like I've spent the night awake and walking through the woods until the crack of dawn after having listened through this album in its entirety. I can see the paths and the trees. I can feel the wind and the chilly air. It all seems very real and I honestly cannot say that many albums or bands can capture the imagination like that.

Amongst the various bands of the nature themed black metal niche, Wędrujący Wiatr are in a class of their own. They are powerful and evocative, pensive and reflective, sobering and emotional all at once. Few black metal acts are able to hold my attention, but with their mastery of atmosphere I think Wędrujący Wiatr will be one of the elite few that stick around in my memory.