Wild Hunt – Before the Plane of Angles
Opening a debut record with a sixteen-minute track takes balls, but Wild Hunt‘s confidence as a band shines through on “Eidetic Parallax”, an opus that demonstrates what the band is all about; black, sludge, prog, and atmospheric metal all coming together fluidly, vocals taking a backseat to the instrumentation.
“Panorama” begins like a modern, blackened (not “Blackened”) Metallica, before transforming into a Crack the Skye-era Mastodon, a comparison that is commonplace on Angles. (Most will say that Wild Hunt resemble a later Enslaved, but I am going to stick with a more atmospheric Mastodon). Its first five minutes are the most “songlike” piece on the record, the band forcing themselves to contain their ideas within a shorter timeframe. But the last three minutes are full of pointless silence. I understand the need for interludes on a record centred around three “epics”, but this feels contextually forced.
“Window to the Nether”, the centrepiece of the record, is the most familiar-feeling track of the five on Angles – the structure of the riffs are more defined than a lot of the black metal tinged chord progressions that feature prominently on its other tracks. It is followed by the ridiculously-titled “Unravel the Veil of Separation, Bask in the Serenity of Discord”, which acts as three minutes of noise filler.
The record finishes like it began: with a sixteen-minute song. But where “Parallax” succeeded in exploring several musical landscapes, “Plane of Angles” lacks adventure. Sure, there is a central focus around a few excellent melodies, but for a song to be this long, it requires more justification. It is a rather lacklustre finish to an otherwise interesting debut record.
With Wild Hunt’s ability to show proficiency and understanding of multiple genres, it is going to be worth keeping an eye on them in the future. (I’m hoping for a little more sludge, but that’s just me).