Review: Wolvserpent – 'Aporia:Kala:Ananta'

Wolvserpent are a duo who dabbles in folk, classical, drone, doom and black metal. The Idahoans last release was in 2013 with the catchily titled, ‘Perigaea Ankhatarhana’ which had 5 songs largely in an eclectic style with was as hard to define as the title is to say.

‘Aporia:Kala:Ananta’ is a full album release, forty minutes in duration with only one song. Yep, you heard me. The band describes the release as, ‘boundary-pushing experimentation’. Having come off a three hour exploration into the new Boris with Merzbow album, my tolerance of boundary-pushing experimentation was at an all-time high.

For the first five minutes of this track I poked and prodded the stereo as the little blue light said ON but the sound was so low on the recording I had to set the volume to ‘ludicrous’ just to get a murmur. It did make me crane forward to hear the variation but it was just a slow build. At about six minutes we dive into violin and it’s emotional and mesmerising. There must be a University course somewhere that teaches you the equation in music to evoke a response. If there is, the course is taught in Idaho as I have no idea what is going on but, whatever it is, its beautiful. The violin becomes the fiddle and we glide and lift. There is a drone in the background but it’s a beautiful opening burst which becomes tattered by a snare drum and much heavier organ. Its jarring, made even more so by the far off distorted, unintelligible vocals from the crypt somewhere. So ten minutes in and I am genuinely interested in where this is going. Up to the sixteen minute mark we fade and an industrial drone takes its place. Feedback and machinery replace the beautiful music. Joyous, wonderful music replaced with white noise. Strummed power chords, are held over minutes and distorted. Single chords bashed and the feedback whines. This takes us up to thirty five minutes where the notes subside over the next five. No vocals and no real percussive beat.

The main experimentation here is tolerance. The beauty of the first ten minutes is not enough to justify the next half an hour. It’s a bit like watching a movie where you are promised a reason for your interest in their indulgence only to be rewarded with the credits.

The bewildering thing is that this forty minute expanse is almost a carbon copy of, ‘A Breath in the Shade of Time’ from the last album. They are very, very similar and for that reason I find this new release hard to recommend. I normally let PR blurb go as they have all the accuracy of real estate listings and political manifestos but I am intrigued by the statement that, ’innovation and progression over the course of this single continuous song that are rarely found in any genre’. That is a statement that I totally agree with for the previous recording which was cinematic, brooding, intense and malevolent. But this new recording does not innovate or progress because it already has a clone in the previous release. There is a skill in introducing a new sound to the listener but the genius is the constant reinvention that makes the listener a fan as well as an advocate.

For those of you who are new to Wolvserpent check out the 2013 offering, ‘Perigaea Ankhatarhana’ as you may find this more accessible.

Reviewer Craig Grant

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