Review Summary: Little game to hunt
The year is 2012 and I feel as if black metal is slowly losing its game to the ever growing legion of hipsters and indie cesspools full of never-ending irrelevant information. What is it about black metal that fascinates these outside groups of “too cool for mainstream but I’m going to tippy-toe around the edge” people and they’re never ending pursuit to drag every genre of music into the depths of self-indulgent ***? I know this is the elitist coming out of me – even though I still believe in the thought of “if it sounds good, who cares what market it appeals to” – but at heart, I still contradict and sound like an elitist prick when I say “leave our damn music alone”. Upon first reading about Wild Hunt’s debut, I first thought about the cover art, the bands promo photo, and the album title and came to these conclusions: deceptively intelligent, hipster douche bags, and a geometrically stupid concept. You can see on this basis why I thought about self-indulgent morons posing as intellectual beings. Furthermore, sandwiching your debut album between two sixteen minute tracks can either mean you’re a pretentious turd or you’ve climbed the mountain to Opeth greatness (before they went Camel on our asses). Unfortunately, any thoughts of ripping this apart were quickly swept underneath the carpet while I was treated to a fairly decent take on modernized progressive black metal.
Mind you, I somewhat stand correct on the opening and closing tracks to Before The Plane Of Angles
sounding like a bunch of cutting-room floor ideas mangled together to form the over-indulgent sixteen minute opuses. It’s not that the individual ideas of these two tracks sound half-assed but it’s the way these ideas flow into one another, making for a choppy ride that neither flows smoothly nor creates any sort of sustained atmosphere through black metals hand-chiselled monastery. The individual bits pieced together are well executed but feels more disjointed than anything else. At least on album capper “Plane of Angles“, they somewhat get the elongated epic right but fall victim to these wonderful ideas stretched too thin to conjure up sixteen minutes of interest. It’s not until the listener comes to the three middle tracks where the band gains a sense of focus with more direct songwriting. Even though the prog fans of both opening and closing tracks will disagree with me over blood and death shed, this is where the band finds its strength. “Panorama” begins with an excellent doom raddled melody before belting forth into the excellent Enslaved Ruun
era riffs that melds progressive and black metal as if the two styles were originally a genre by itself. As the Mastodonian vocals and Enslaved riffs come to an end, the song gradually shifts into an ambient passage that wouldn’t fit out of place on a Wrath of the Weak album. The same can be said about the next song “Window to the Nether” but focuses more on the proggy/ post-metal traits with a black metal nuance and less about the heavier Enslaved elements. “Unravel the Veil...” is more of a bridge track that works well with the ambient side of things Wild Hunt do very well.
To hit the nail on the head further, Before The Plane Of Angles
make legit use of other bands ideas and avoid the whole predetermined hipster judgement one might get when looking into this band from a review, biopic perspective.