Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ever Circling Wolves - Of Woe Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Gloom

A lot of people have the very mistaken perception that metal is ugly, abrasive, brutish music with no redeeming qualities. They often wonder how others can stand to listen to it. This is very unfortunate, because they miss out on releases like this one, and so many more, that use heaviness as a way to open the pathway to beauty. This is the kind of album that one can put on after a bad day, and despite being heavy, despite being doom, it is uplifting and meditative and a complete mood changer. Hey, I know, I've used it that way, and it really works.

Ever Circling Wolves come to us from Finland, courtesy of a fantastic smaller label called Cimmerian Shade Recordings. I've followed this label for a while now and they have a knack for finding some incredible music in out of the way places all over the world. The owner of the label has a unique ear and definitely knows what he is seeking out and I would encourage you to not only check out this band but the label as well.

Getting back to the band, this is very unique blend of styles. The overall feeling is doom, but there is some black metal and a good deal of what I hear people refer to as “post” stuff, whatever that means. I've never quite gotten the concept but a lot of what I like and listen to seems to be “post” this or that, according to others. The thing that really speaks to me in this music is that the band is not afraid of melody. Using a repetitive melody is a very beautiful thing to me, and it allows the listener to really focus on the music and as I mentioned earlier, almost meditate on the world around you.  I've mentioned it before but music like this helps guide you to things in the world around you that you might not otherwise be aware of, and that is a very cool thing to me.

The songs are very well crafted and most of them clock in at over eight minutes. This is not an album for those with short attention spans, but rather for those who want to experience the music to which they listen. Some of these songs almost feel as though they have distinct movements and flow from heavy doom thunder to much lighter passages with a delicate ease that is surprising for a band in this genre. This is a band that doesn't shy away from letting the music breathe and be what it wants to be. There is no feeling that “we are a heavy band so these songs must be gloomy and depressing”. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves heavy music and is curious to see how a band can expand the boundaries of the genre.

Make special notice of the final track, a fifteen minute masterpiece that you hope will never end called “These Are Ashes, These Are Roots”. The final four or five minutes are just golden moments, as they build and build with a repetitive melody in a perfect example of how a band can use this idea to really move the listener. This is gorgeous music, and yes, that is possible in metal. You just have to be open minded enough to accept that possibility, and when this is your reward, you'd be a fool not to.


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