Review Summary: mount burzum.
When it was touted that Mount Eerie’s newest record would be a black metal album, dubious sentiments were certainly aroused. It’s completely understandable in regard to Phil Elverum, as he is arguably one of the most innovative independent musicians to be gracing our ears in recent times, but the way in which one could imagine Elverum to execute the Mount Eerie style in a black metal aesthetic would undoubtedly be plagued by problems.
First of all, who would it appeal to? One can be sure that if a black metal album was produced that actually adhered to the tenets of black metal, many established fans would snub their noses; on the other hand, fans of black metal, who are well known for snubbing their noses at almost everything, would disregard the record as something even remotely related to their esoteric sub-genre.
Nevertheless, it is safe to report that Mount Eerie have progressed in perhaps the most perfect manner; this ‘black metal’ element which was originally claimed is very subtle. My initial expectation of Elverum screeches fortunately turned out to be only a speculation, and what Wind’s Poem
actually is as an album is the continuation and development of the raw sound greatly explored on the Black Wooden Ceiling Opening
Three distinct styles can be heard on this album. The first, of course, is this presumed black metal sound – essentially, this is characterized by a great deal of distortion and feedback, reverberating crashes often sounding dissonant and cacophonous. The opening track ‘Wind’s Dark Poem’ immediately introduces this style, which would not be unfamiliar to those well acquainted with Mount Eerie’s back catalogue. It’s rather comforting to hear that even with this supposed extremity in his music, the marked Elverum sound can be distinguished; the guitar hook found in the opener is extraordinarily reminiscent of Elverum’s earlier work, and his almost indecipherable mumbling over the tumultuous distortion invokes a certain feeling of loneliness that only he would be able to invoke.
The longest song on the record, ‘Through the Trees’, is suggestive of my purported second style, one which diversifies the album to the point where it comes off as arguably Mount Eerie’s best release. ‘Through the Trees’ features, for want of a better description, over eleven minutes of gentle organ hum. One can imagine how Elverum’s placid vocals would suit such an ambiance, and the juxtaposition that this style plays along with the aforementioned first style maintains the album’s viscosity as an enveloping composition.
And thirdly, what would an Elverum album be without its folky indie passages? ‘Between Two Mysteries’ has something of a jangly vibe in its execution, and although this manner of style can be clearly heard on [No Flashlight
, there is still a sense of innovation. What isn’t new however, is Elverum’s conveyance of emotion. Every track on Wind’s Poem
is emotionally raw, and the record ultimately combines all of the various styles in which Mount Eerie have previously explored, thus creating an all encompassing Mount Eerie technique
The ways in which Elverum recalls his earlier work do the album no harm – musically speaking, ‘My Heart is Not at Peace’ features the remarkably solemn and heart drenching atmosphere that was abundant on Lost Wisdom
, and in going with that theme, the inclusion of a ‘Lost Wisdom, Pt. 2’ as a successor to the original song on the aforementioned album is just good to see. As opposed to the first part’s acoustic composition, the second part delves into the dissonant style that Elverum has seemingly perfected, and is a fantastic precursor to ‘Stone’s Ode’, an eerie closer to what is perhaps the best Mount Eerie album, and if not for The Glow, Pt. 2
, perhaps the best Elverum album.
The successes that Elverum has had with Mount Eerie, particularly with both of his 2008 releases, have been huge, but only in their diminutive stylistic constraints. Wind’s Poem
, however, is a blend of all that we know as Elvrum, and is not only musically coherent, but poignant in all of its faculties.