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Nothing to see here, move along - 40%

caspian, March 9th, 2010

I remember hearing this band a while ago, I think it was Diadem of 12 stars or whatever that album is called. Best thing about it was the album name but otherwise WITTR, aside from a clunky but pretty cool band name seemed pretty unremarkable, really. If it weren't for the nutty ecofeminism gimmick and Pitchfork support (neither of which are positives) this would be a rather forgettable black metal band.

Things haven't really changed much, it seems. I don't really see how, say, "Ahrimanic Trance" is terribly different from a lot of run of the mill forest-y BM. The guitars are played a bit looser, perhaps, and there's a synth-y climax in it which isn't all too different from what Darkspace, Sun of the Blind and a bunch of spacey black metal bands have been doing for some time. I get a bit of a slightly chilled out vibe from it; this doesn't really sound like Sleep but you could call it "Stoner Black Metal" if you want; the guitar tone in particular has that sort of thing going, plus the tendency the band has to drone for a while on one or two chords. Nothing terribly far out or worthy of much applauding, or indeed, condemning. I don't really see how this is so different from stuff like Drudkh. There's one pretty experimental bit- that neat little bit of shimmering guitar ambient in "Ex Cathedra"- but the most noteworthy thing about is that it's hella awkwardly placed in the song.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm listening to this without a lyric sheet, without a CD booklet in front of me explaining the lyrical and ideological content that's here? But that begs the question- if it sounds average without knowledge of the "gimmick", as such- and it most assuredly is a gimmick- why does being naturist or whatever make this even the least bit more worthwhile? Why is this seen as special? Most of it's fluffy forest metal that clearly loves Burzum (though one can never approve of his political leanings!!1) but wants to be perhaps a bit more straight out pleasant; thus the softer guitar tone and more straightforward melodic chord progressions- I can't really bring myself to call them riffs. Again, Drudkh comparisons come up, although this isn't nearly as good as Autumn Aurora.

I dunno, it's competent and there's nothing offensive about it, but there's certainly nothing great, or even particularly good about it either. I have a feeling WITTR have been aware of their shortcomings for some time too, thus the nature gimmick and them taking the Southern Lord/Pitchfork/pretentious idiot route to relative black metal "stardom". They're certainly good at marketing, it's just a shame they're not as good as music. Blah-ish black metal that's really not worth anyone's time, although you may turn a profit by buying some vinyl and e-baying it in a few years.