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Wolvserpent - Perigaea Antahkarana - 70%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 16th, 2013

At 5 songs and 84 minutes in length, the second album from US droning black metal duo Wolvserpent is as difficult to listen to as it is to say its title, "Perigaea Antahkarana". When an album consisting of such perilous song lengths as these hits my inbox the worry often is whether I will truly be able to feel integrated with the ebb and flow of each track before feeling compelled to begin typing. By now I have given the four tracks forming the bulk of the album (80 minutes of it) a number of listens and am impressed with the desolate, morbid atmosphere which pervades throughout and the extent to which protagonists Brittany McConnell and Blake Green have managed to maintain movement around a core thread of each song. "Within the Light of Fire" slowly rumbles and coalesces in its first ten minutes before building to a lead riff which rises from the crackle of the fire to guide the accompanying synth through 3 minutes of a marching tempo that easily belies any notions of unnecessary dirge on behalf of the pair.

The rural, natural vibe which reveals itself in the warm analogue production job and sound effects of running water, birdsong and crackling fire which bookend many tracks lend the album similarities in tonality and emotional feel to Wolves in the Throne Room and Blood of the Black Owl, two bands themselves comfortable with extreme song lengths and meandering articulation, as well as Drudkh whose fascination with nature makes them such an enjoyable listen. "In Mirrors of Water" plays off these connections with a long natural introduction of its own, backing a pairing of weeping violins before droning guitar reverb moulds into the first emergence of any recognisable beat in the 10th minute.

Despite as little happening as it does in the 23 minutes of "A Breath in the Shade of Time" it remains an involving and deeply concentrated effort as another long slow introduction makes way for a hypnotic kaleidoscope of reverb and effects mimicking the sound of the wind which earlier preceded it. The vocals which emerge late on and sound as if recorded in a trance provide a nice counterpoint to the rough grunts which make up the rest of the album. "Concealed Among the Roots and Soil" which closes is the most riff based of all the songs and features a repetitive refrain so heavy it feels anchored by its own tuning, as well as a lead riff which lends the song a considerable BM air. Like the other lengthy tracks here it manages to avoid the pitfall of forgetting to provide a hook for the listener, as I've often heard in impenetrably drawn-out affairs such as these. Climaxing through withdrawn synth beneath the crackle of fire, "Perigaea Antahkarana" retreats into the mystique from which it clung tightly during its oppressive 84 minutes and leaves me feeling that though some of these expressions were over-used in this time, the majority of the record does a fine job of expressing a real personality and harnessing a honest earthly vibe.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net