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Watch out, Killjoy will be in your band next! - 63%

erebuszine, May 13th, 2013

This album sort of came out of left field, at least for me... I hadn't heard that much about this project before the product of the union of these six (!) musicians was here on stage, ready for all to peruse, and left to speak for itself. Wurdulak is, for the purpose of this recording, members of Mayhem, Gorelord, Immortal, Bloodthorn, Soul Forsaken, Perished, and Necrophagia coming together to write and record an older style of death metal, I'm assuming just for the fun of it. So, for all intents and purposes, this really isn't an 'official' band in any way, but rather just another in a long string of Killjoy-involved project bands, set down to have a good time together and come up with some music for their own consumption and (aren't you lucky!) your own eager ears. It's difficult to take material like this seriously, as Killjoy seems to get around so much these days, and is appearing in so many 'bands' (watch out for him in your band next!) as he travels around and collaborates with different musicians. Some of the results of his wanderings have been interesting to listen to, some haven't. For Wurdulak, I think the material here sort of slips into a middle ground in terms of what I really want to have in my stereo at this time. The music isn't at all atrocious, to be sure, even though they only seem to use two or three riffs through the course of this entire (eight song) record, and three or four rhythms, sort of sticking to a traditional Motorhead/Celtic Frost/early thrash framework (mixed with constant allusions to Norwegian black metal) that I'm sure everyone involved also felt comfortable with, being the kind of style that is amusing to 'experiment' in, and yet not difficult enough to warrant long periods of thought. It's interesting how easily musicians today can write music like this - the kind of music that only a decade ago (or, actually, fifteen years in the past) bands were seriously turning over in their minds as 'state of the art'. The only way I can explain the number of people involved in this recording is in guessing that its creation must have taken some time, and different people came in at different times. Either that or they just thought 'the more the merrier', and went for it.

It is interesting to hear Maniac sing outside of Mayhem, and to hear that his vocals are still in fine form, even though he makes this simplistic thrash sound at times a little too eerily close to early Gorgoroth. Listen to 'Satanic Utopia', for example. Also, because of the number of hands/minds involved in this recording, it tends to slip almost schizophrenically between different styles, all while retaining its essential simplicity (I'm not going to fall into the habit of equating simplicity with 'purity') and straightforward honesty of approach, almost as if many parts were composed on the spur of the moment. It should also be mentioned that this style (and, really, the entire situation of this band) does not offer many opportunities for real creative depth in the music. In 'Cauterizing the Wounds of Christ', for example, the two main riffs in the first two and a half minutes are not really related to each other at all, and there aren't any transition melodies that prepare you for when they change - almost as if you were listening to the radio and just moved the dial between two different stations. 'Containment of Inferno' starts out like a prime slice of early Norwegian black (again, essentially akin to Gorgoroth), tremelo picking/fast strumming very much intact, but then the grinding muted chords and simple one-two-three progressions of primeval punk and first wave thrash make their appearance (this is the characteristic that has many people - including me - referencing Celtic Frost) and completely ruin the effect of the starting melody. Oh well. Maniac saves the day with his screaming, yet again.

I do like the slowed-down agony of 'Buried Beneath Perversion', the sort of dissonant colors the doom ending of this song offers, almost as if it were trying, finally, to break new ground and reach into a novel category of expression, and yet... just when it is moving outward to explore the reverb-drenched sludgecore landscape this last riff opens up for it, the song ends... also, in the title track, for example, they slip into a short thrash section which has a rhythm beneath it that really reminds me of Anthrax (irony of ironies), and yet this relationship between the past and the present isn't explored any further. For me, at least, just the expectations I brought into my first few samplings of this music ruined the entire experience. Imagine the beautiful cacophony that would have resulted had these six men (or five - I'm not sure that Frediablo and 'Ihizahg' aren't the same person) had just let loose in the studio while letting the tape run? The process of composition has pigeonholed and unduly compressed their freedom to experiment, especially in the rhythm/drumming department. This album could have been so much more.

The art on this release is probably the best part, being an eye-catching collection of blasphemous photography/painting collages by Patrick Tremblay featuring a nun being impaled in various locations with splinters of crosses... very nice. While I don't exactly know why it's considered erotic to murder and 'defile' the female cenobites in the world (I would much rather see 'perverted' eroticism or 'controversial' art tossed aside for a few real dead priests), the clash and distortion of the colors in the artwork is expertly done, especially the middle panel in the lyric booklet which shows the dead nun on her back amidst the burnt and collapsing ruins of a church, a veritable orgy of desecration. I wonder if there are still people out there who would be offended by something like this? I don't know.

I'm not going to say that any of these people should give up their regular bands and go full steam ahead with this project. Wurdulak can be diverting at times, and I'm sure it was a learning process/situation for all involved, but ultimately it can't be compared to the more original work that these musicians are coming up with in their 'normal' situations. What else did you expect me to say? This is a good offering for Anselmo and Killjoy's latest incarnation of Baphomet - not only because it involves their personal efforts, and ties in with their history so far of appearing in two different places at the same time, but because it creates further ties between their musical creativity and the work of other contemporaries in this country and abroad.

Perhaps they would be content in taking some of the ideas here back to their real bands? Working on them there? We can only wait and see.

UA

Erebus Magazine
http://erebuszine.blogspot.com

hideously lame - 20%

Noktorn, September 17th, 2011

This fucking sucks.

It's not as though anyone takes Wurdulak seriously, and I don't even think they would even if Killjoy WASN'T involved, but in all honesty this is just so fucking lame I feel the need to express to it to the world. "Ceremony In Flames" makes me think of a band who wanted to do a "Deathcrush" knock-off with better production and playing but just stumpled into a latter-era Satyricon album instead with even more immature imagery. About half the material on here is really fucking tedious black-and-roll shit with rock drums, strummed riffs, and Killjoy just sort of puking all over everything with his typically weak, effete vocal performance, and the other half is composed of terrible reinterpretations of Dark Funeral tremolo riffs without a tenth of the passion or intensity. It's just awful.

Have you ever heard a production job which made you think the engineer responsible just knew that this was the sort of album to phone in? It's remarkably half-assed. It's as though the producer ALMOST bothered to try, but after an hour of tracking realized it would fall on deaf ears. It's sort of quiet and unassuming- the guitars have no real bite and the drums and vocals are soft and rounded off. It fits the music, which is equally tepid and worthless, mostly content to just stagger around a bunch of bland mid-paced passages which sound a great deal like if Six Feet Under was imitating black metal instead of death. In short, this has no redeeming qualities and shouldn't be listened to by anyone.

Nothing Killjoy has been involved with has ever been worth more than a cringe.

Fun, but gets old fast - 70%

Lord_Jotun, January 17th, 2004

God forbid, what do we have here? A Metal supergroup that's actually worth listening to?? Well... almost. Although Wurdulak's first album sounds like a masterpiece when compared to most of those lame ass attempts at impressing the listener by sporting amazing line-ups paired with an appalling lack of musical interest whatsoever (you won't have to look that far to understand what I'm talking about: Killjoy is in here), it's definitely not the ultimate Black / Death experience, and the first thing that jumps to the listener's attention is that - yet once more - the final result is way inferior than the sum of the single elements.

First, the cast... as I mentioned, Killjoy of Necrophagia fame stars in this record, and shares the microphone with current Mayhem frontman Maniac. This should provide quite a deal of vocal variety, and to some extent it does (and although I'm not a big fan of Maniac's voice, I have to admit that his gurgles fit Wurdulak way better than Mayhem), but not as much as one could expect, as both vocalists stick to a very similar, vomit-like tone most of the time. At various points there's also too much random screaming going on, which ends up being neither sick nor brutal as it probably was supposed to be - just tedious, as anything does when it becomes overdone.
The line-up also boasts the partecipation of three (count 'em) guitarists - namely Frediablo, Fug and Ihizahg - when actually one (ok, let's say two) would suffice. Really. Apart from the fact that there's hardly any soloing at all (not necessarily a bad thing, as this genre has never been about wanking up and down the fretboard), most of the time the guitar work consists of basic power chords, with no harmonies at all and generally very few variations from this pattern.
Finally, the rhythm section, consisting of Iscariah (ex-Immortal) on bass and Jehmod (of Bloodthorn) on drums. The bass lines are nothing mindblowing either, but provide a solid backbone and are kept audible in the mix, and Jehmod does an equally fine job, although there are very few fast parts to be found.

Musically, Wurdulak's roots are obviously rooted in old styled Black Metal (lots of processed Celtic Frost and Bathory influences can be easily made out), although the band mostly sticks to mid tempos with a few slightly faster sections here and there and very few blasbeat parts. Not a bad thing, since a bit of groove rather than constant shredding can't be bad. The songs also have a nice amount of twists and turns that keeps them from being predictable and boring... at least to a certain extent.
For here lies the real problem with this record: after a while, the riffs (which are generally well done and interesting) start to show a common pattern that undermines the album's variety way before time. This is not saying that the songs all sound the same, as most of them have their peculiar elements, but the style of playing, the very melodic structure of the riffs an dthe general feeling of the music really stays the very same from the beginning to the end. Some riffs also tend to drag on for too long, something that doesn't help the general variety either.

There are, however, standout tracks: "Statanic Utopia", for example, has a very headbangable opening riff and mantains a killer groove all the way through; "Containment of Inferno" (which also features lyrics penned by veteral Black Metaller Faust) begins with a blasting riff which wouldn't be out of place on a Setherial album, and closes with a really cool and creepy part introduced by a haunting clean guitar; "Cauterizing the Wounds of Christ" has a chorus that manages to stick in your mind without letting go, while "Chosen Below" at times explodes into a sudden blasting part backed by a very strong riff.
The downsides, however, are always waiting in the dark, ready to assault the good impressions: the title track, for example, opens with a nice guitar line but that's about it, as the rest of the song quickly becomes anonymous, repetitive, and too similar to the rest; the same can be said about tracks like "Buried Beneath Perversion" or "Gospels of Depravity", while "At One With the Beast" has some nice riffs which however are repeated for too long.

All in all this is an enjoyable album, ideal as something to listen to that doesn't require too much concentration. I picked this one for a special price, and would have never payed for it as much as for a regularly priced cd, quite honestly. Check it out before you consider purchasing it.

I don't know, I like it - 81%

Madman, June 22nd, 2003

What happens when you get a black metal "super group"? A pretty damn good album. This is a pretty solid and quite fun black metal album. I've heard this referred to as a black metal party album... I'd say that's a fairly accurate description.

What we have are 8 very strong black metal songs focused more on rocking than anything else. I find it to be very good stuff. Killjoy (Necrophagia) and Maniac (Mayhem) both switch off songs and in a couple songs trade off vocals. It's fairly interesting and keeps things interesting vocally. The production is quite crisp, nothing like many of the more underground black metal bands. The music is quite catchy in an old school black metal way.

A few stand out songs are "At One With the Beast", "Satanic Utopia", "Cauterizing the Wounds of Christ", and the best song on the album "Buried Beneath Perversion".

Overall this album gets two thumbs up from me!