Wolvennest Featuring Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand ‎– WLVNNST

3 out of 5

Label: WeMe Records

Produced by: Wolvennest (?)

Man, this should really be a slam dunk for me – slow, brooding, gothic metal; ethereal vocals – and, yeah, conceptually, it… it seems perfect, but man, there’s something holding it back throughout. It might be the reverb-y doom metal production, which casts all of the intensity into shadow – this style works for its genre, generally, but admittedly isn’t my favorite sound, especially with music as dense as what we’re getting here – or it might be the way that the team-up can’t really decide between writing plodding and immense psyhedelia, or drone. Either one of those can work, for sure. But the combination makes for a middleground with some great, grooving riffs and vocalized mantras, but also an incredible sense of repetition. With the cavernous production on top, nothing much gets the chance to stand out; even an extended guitar freakout on ‘Partir’ feels somehow restrained, and then drags on for too long.

That said, greater moments exist when the grooves initially kick off – until they go in to interminable loops – and the bookends are notable. Opener Unreal has the same repetitiveness of the album, but the group does slowly switch off focuses over its 10 minutes, giving it more worth on repeated listens, when you can pick out some nuance. Closer Nuit Noire De L’Âme is my favorite, though, and perhaps that’s not surprising: it’s the only track to break from the metal style and turn more toward ambience, which is a better fit for the noisy busyness these groups got up to together.

I’m definitely interested to check out more from these bands separately, as the various elements that make up WLVNNST are surely compelling, but together, its an oddly muted affair.