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Wendigo Sells, But Who's Buying? - 62%

TheStormIRide, February 20th, 2014

Wendigo is a Canadian black metal project hailing from the Ottawa area. Formed as a solo project of Deztruktör in 2001, the band’s lone release to date is a three track demo, Ivresse, which was independently released in 2007. “Ivresse” is French for intoxication, which is a fitting title for the degenerative anthems summoned here. While Ivresse only features eleven minutes of music over three tracks, it is a fairly diverse offering with each track with each track heralding a differing tempo and slightly different styling. While it’s not eclectic in its mixing, there is a lot going on, especially for a three track demo.

The album opens with “Dégénéressence” and the song title itself gives you an idea what to expect; the essence of degeneration. While the production is more than a little rough around the edge, the track showcases a fiery trem riff winding throughout, utilizing an underlying melody that sounds strangely similar to the riffs of 1184 era Windir. There’s a dose of Swedish melodic black metal a la Dissection mixed in, but the gritty production keeps it from reaching the beauty of Swedish scene. The following two tracks, “Par une douleur aveuglante” and “Dans la nuit éternelle” continue the aural assault, switching gears but keeping within the degenerative sound brought forth by the opener. “Par une douleur aveuglante” adds a few thrash riffs into the mix, but continues the pacing, while “Dans la nuit éternelle” speeds up into a chaotic and frenetic mix of trem picking and blast beats, but the guitars switch gears into a buzzsaw sound that really doesn’t fit with the styling of the other two tracks. The vocals throughout the demo are torturous, raspy screams that sound like they are layered in distortion, static and pure filth. While the vocals get the job done, they also get a bit monotonous by the time the demo is over. Everything is pushed forth by a constant barrage of blasting drum patterns courtesy of a drum machine. While the beats all sound decent, the grainy production and tinny sounding “cymbals” keep me from fully investing in the programming.

There really hasn’t been a lot of action on the Wendigo front since the release of this demo, but in November of 2013 the band posted their first new track in six years. With a proper drummer and less grainy production Wendigo could bring a solid piece of Sweden to the Canadian black metal scene. As it stands, there’s not a whole lot to take away from Ivresse. Sure, it’s decent as a far as demos go, but there are so many other bands out there doing this style and doing it well. Perhaps the band can use this as a springboard, but after six years how likely is that?