Now, here’s an odd one. Taking musicians from acts like La Muerte, Cult of Erinyes, Temple of Nothing, and Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand, Wolvennest is a unique collaboration both strange and accessible. I know the term “accessible” is not always a positive one. But, in the case of Wolvennest, it’s a refreshing psychedelic doom rock treat. In general, Wolvennest‘s self-titled debut is similar in sound (and acid trips) to Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand. Which isn’t surprising, being that DBatICotLH‘s Albin Julius and Marthynna are the key songwriters. Not to mention, Marthynna’s otherworldly vocals haunt most songs on Wolvennest (or Wlvnnst). So, if you’re looking for something atmospheric, something sinister, and something… krautrock, you’ve come to the right place.
Back in December of 2015, Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand released a three-track offering called The Wolvennest Sessions. A year later, a reconstruction occurred and two of those three tracks were Botoxed and sent scurrying away to a new home. At this new home, these two ditties partnered with three new friends to produce a five-track debut of ambient music clocking in at fifty-five minutes. Within this handful of tracks lies a hint of black, a little doom, and a touch of rock that sends the listener tumbling headlong down Wolvennest‘s drug-induced rabbit hole.
For how psychedelic its writers are, Wolvennest is actually a bit more accessible than Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand. Rather than feeling the chaotic highs of an acid binge, I actually feel the homely reassurance of a ’50s horror movie mixed with occultic doom. Especially with the spacey-keyed introduction of opener “Unreal.” Though heaviest toward the beginning of the song, these synths course throughout its ten-minute runtime. But this doomy, slow-moving number reveals its true potential when Marthynna’s haunting voice appears; slashing at the black-and-white fog that encases this piece.
“Tief Unter” uses the opener’s stylings with similar effectiveness, but from an instrumental perspective. It has a similar build to “Unreal,” but its eerie chants and slow-paced outro are the perfect setups for the album’s highlight. Another reimagining from The Wolvennest Sessions, “Out of Darkness Deep” is the band’s doom metal classic. With some lingering silence between it and its predecessor, “Out of Darkness Deep” finally ruptures the calm and emerges from the murky depths. The result is an unraveling of blanket-after-blanket of guitar and drum. For twenty minutes, the combination of riffs, moods, and Marthynna’s beautiful pipes push this song to the max. And, like “Tief Unter” before it, once the song has met its limits, it dissolves amongst haunting, black-metal-like chants.
Unfortunately, as the silence beyond “Out of Darkness Deep” begins to dissipate, closer “Nuit Noire de L’Âme” snaps down like a bear trap—killing the vibe its predecessor worked so hard to set. It isn’t a bad track, but its short runtime and weak delivery leave much to be desired. “Partir” does the same thing to “Unreal.” After opening with a sound byte from the movie Barabbas, this moody number struggles to maintain the same character as “Unreal.” But, instead of keeping things afloat, it just kinda fizzles out.
Thankfully, none of these low points keep me from enjoying the rest of this dark trail. Not only that, but it’s actually a very good album. The message is clear from beginning to end and the end, itself, is defined by its beginning. The guitar tone and synths suit the music, the vocals add good weight, and nothing is overdone. In some cases, things are underdone, but, at least, bloating is prevented. This isn’t a one-of-a-kind offering, but the combination of elements makes it worth a spin or two. For me? I haven’t been able to put it down in days.