White Ward
Love Exchange Failure


4.5
superb

Review

by Dean M. USER (30 Reviews)
October 1st, 2019 | 83 replies


Release Date: 09/20/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bohren & Der Weg Einer Freiheit

The most prevalent criticism of White Ward I hear from their detractors and skeptics is that the addition of prominent saxophone to their sound feels gimmicky, and to be honest, I still don't get it. Both before and since White Ward's 2017 debut Futility Report, the combination of jazz and heavy music has had plenty of opportunities to prove itself and numerous successes, from Kayo Dot, through Bohren & Der Club of Gore and Colin Stetson's Ex Eye project, to KEN mode's most recent effort. Love Exchange Failure is far from an experiment or a proof of concept. Its true triumph is not in its novelty, but in perfecting the delicate balance between the two disparate elements.

There are a handful of moments strewn throughout Love Exchange Failure that lean heavily on the jazz--the first few minutes of the opener, for example, would not be out of place on an early Bohren album--but the prevailing aesthetic of the album is crisp, explosive black metal in the vein of Der Weg Einer Freiheit or Bosse-de-Nage. And White Ward's brand of metal is just as staggering as the aforementioned bands. Drummer Evgeny Karamushko keeps the album moving at a blistering pace, and the interweaving guitars pull off both anguished chord progressions and furious solos with prowess and aplomb. But ultimately, Love Exchange Failure can only succeed as it does because of Dima Dudko's sublime saxophone, which lends White Ward's metal a profoundly refreshing texture heretofore unheard. About halfway through the opener, the saxophone wails to life, unfurling the track until it suddenly sounds several times its previous size. As the guitars keep "Dead Heart Confession" tethered to the sticking place, Dudko flails for a grip as he spins out of control. The saxophone enhances Love Exchange Failure in much the same way a theremin enhanced Jane Doe, underscoring and amplifying its most essential qualities whenever they need to make the biggest impact.

When balanced this impeccably, all of these elements come together to form an arresting experience wrought with despair, from the quiet sorrow of slow jazz to the shrieking desperation of whirlwind black metal. As vocalist Andrii Pechatkin narrates a "global cataclysm destroy[ing] the worlds" on closer "Uncanny Delusions," the music conjures an image of great flames consuming the urban landscape on the cover and crumbling it to ash. It's a harrowing vision, yet the sheer grace with which White Ward execute it makes it paradoxically gorgeous.



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user ratings (181)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2019


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So pretty ah : ]

brainmelter
October 1st 2019


7178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this has grown on me, nice review

Digging: Plague Rider - Rhizome

zaruyache
October 1st 2019


23117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

woo this got a rev gj

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2019


16683 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

glad this got reviewed. wish I liked it more. and honestly all the hubbub about a BM band incorporating a fuking saxophone into their sound says something about the state of the genre to me. I mean jeez it's not like there's a tambourine player in the group it's a saxophone.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2019


22202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good stuff Hesp, really enjoyed this one.

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

Demon of the Fall
October 1st 2019


17389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. This is firmly on my radar, it's just been pushed back a little due to the busy new release schedule of late. I'm definitely up for hearing a bit of sax + BM.

Digging: Oxbow - The Narcotic Story

Pikazilla
October 1st 2019


13278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Elevator black metal at its finest.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2019


12976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Reconsider that 2.5 Pika, I think you're missing a trick.

Project
October 1st 2019


4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you had me at saxophone. great review, spinning this now

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2019


26122 Comments


checking now based on the Der Weg Einer Freiheit comparison alone

Digging: Tired Lion - Breakfast for Pathetics

50iL
October 1st 2019


5398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Amazing album tbhhh

Project
October 1st 2019


4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the saxophone/jazz influences don't feel gimmicky at all. it's extremely cohesive



the more typical black metal songwriting is pretty straightforward but good production helps a lot



yeah this is fun

Azog
October 1st 2019


380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty good stuff, agreed.

garas
October 1st 2019


5229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

glad this got reviewed [2]

Pretty good stuff, agreed. [2]

Digging: Deafheaven - 10 Years Gone

SpiritCrusher2
October 1st 2019


6281 Comments


"Bohren & Der Weg Einer Freiheit"

ok you got my attention

Pikazilla
October 1st 2019


13278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

listened to this again



still sucks



adding saxophone to cookie-cutter black metal won't automatically make it good

Archelirion
October 2nd 2019


6274 Comments


I don't think I've ever been so turned on by a summary, although Pika's comments concern me a little bit. Will take a gander. Siqqqq review btw :}

SuzyC
October 2nd 2019


119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My rating may go up as I've only listened to this twice. The jazziness reminds me of classic film noir, which fits very nicely with their vein of urban nightlife black metal. Super cool.

Digging: Major Parkinson - Blackbox

Imperial
October 2nd 2019


1885 Comments


Bohren & der Club of Gore meets Der Weg Einer Freheit?

Sabrutin
October 2nd 2019


7219 Comments


glad this got reviewed [3]

On a first impression this lacks some momentum compared to Futility Report, but I appreciate how they expanded their sound. The clean vocals in the second half especially were a welcomed surprise, and I like how the first part of the opener alone could be sold as a legit dark jazz piece. Still I don't think they mastered the duality yet.



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