The Angry Metal Promo Bin is a fickle mistress. She can conceal highly sought after treasures by surrounding them with infinite no-names, and she can trick you into believing that Rapture is Rapture. Worse yet, she mistags like a motherfucker, calling this genre that and slapping the black metal label on albums with wild abandon. It’s frustrating enough when selecting an unknown band only to find that she’s lied again, but there’s something even more personally offensive in seeing a band that you actually do know and love flagged under the wrong genre. Enter: Wilt‘s Ruin, billed (like everything else) as black metal. Excuse me, Lady Bin, but the Canadian quartet has been one of my absolute favorite underground DOOM acts since 2017’s Moving Monoliths, so why the fuck are you listing this new offering as black metal?
Well, um, cuz it is. To be fair, they always were quite a bit blackened around the edges, but from the first tremolo-picked moments of the aptly-titled opener “Into the Unknown” to the fading screams of closer “Requiem,” this… is…. BLACK METAL! Jordan Dorge dolefully doles out DSBM shrieks and wails that occasionally threaten to crack a la Ghost Bath but instead hold trve and are delivered on Ruin as well as anyone else doing the damn thing. That’s roughly everyone, but moving on. The music of Ruin alternates between blackened bleakness and fiery fury, a tremolo laden leap into the lands of legends like Wiegedood or Drudkh. These may not be doom riffs, per se, but a riff by any other name and all that. Whatever Wilt wish to be billed as these days, with this new sonic style being set to songs averaging around the 7-8 minute mark, it’s clear that these sweet riffs go a long way towards leaving the doom behind.
To put things in perspective: When last we Wilted, the “short” song clocked in just shy of 12 minutes. As opposed to the wallowing in the unfast unhappiness of, say, Slow, Moving Monoliths lurched forward in a manner closer to the crawling creations of The Slow Death, taking its time but never surrendering its right to bare riffs. Ruin still sounds super similar to the same band, but the sprawling song structures have been surgically restyled into something stronger, faster; Wilt haven’t so much trimmed the fat as they have chosen to apply their sound to more succinct, straightforward melodies, retaining all of their Wilty Wiltness while undergoing genre reassignment on a technical level. “Strings of a Lingering Heart” in particular makes excellent use of this new form, sounding as forlorn and fierce as anything before and getting the job done in just under 7 minutes. This version of Wilt, while stunning and brave in its transformation, is still the same band in all the ways that matter.
As always, what matters is riffs, and they are everywhere you look in Ruin. With a style reminiscent of Winterfylleth under a Crow Black Sky, guitarists Jay Edwards and Brett Goodchild ride the frigid winds of change like bosses for 44 minutes, blackening up tracks like “Strings” or “We Read the World Wrong” as though they already owned the genre. Trve to local customs of this newfound sonic land, the overall production is murky enough to be kvlt yet never becomes so unclear as to render the music a mess; Dorge’s charred delivery is set back in the mix enough as to blend and function as part of the instrumentation instead of drawing attention to itself, and Mike Lewis’ more subtle snare-fills suffer a smidge in the dim light of “A Summons Has Come,” but there’s nothing unforgivable going on here. There are clearer sounding black metal albums, but this isn’t Burzum, either. It’s definitely black metal, though, and pretty fuckin solid black metal at that, so I suppose I’ll forgive the Lady Bin. For now.
Apparently change can be for the greater good (the greater good.) Who knew? It seems Wilt did, making the leap ov faith further into the dark side and emerging a more efficient member of the kvlt for their commitment. I still don’t trust the promo bin for shit, but she gave me Ruin so I say thank ya nonetheless. Regardless, it seems these Canadians are excellent in all they do(om), and I for one can’t wait to see what they do next.