Formed by and consisting of sole member Bryan ThomasWestering is a black ambient metal “band” from Seattle, WA. Their debut album, Help a Body—recorded in various apartment dwellings—was released on March 8, 2010 by Paradigms Recordings in a limited edition of 500 copies. So buy or die, thou poxy fules—as verily, it hast been suggested, thee early worm gets to wrestle with the ever-impending prospect of Hel’s dominion ‘oer this meager mortal plane, while the benighted pasty-faced indie rockers sheeple, ignorant and vain, wither and wilt in their dimly-lit rat-hole abodes.

Right. On to the album then. All your standard, much-beloved black metal descriptors apply here, of course: desolate, angst-driven, bleak, frozen, et cetera. But what perhaps most differentiates this outing from Hela’s frost-bitten warriors in good standing is Thomas’ frequent employment of shoegaze aesthetics (not that this thing sounds much like Loveless, granted, but you get the gist, I think) in the service of applied atmosphere, if not “Atmosphere”—Joy Division joke, that (also, dig the cool Closer-in-negative cover design/fonts used).

And we’re off, as guitars swirl about in the middle distance, entrancing the senses as they buzz along, and leaving naught else in their wake but melancholy synths atop our mount-summit’s frigid castle keep, whilst Thomas declaims his most fervid fever-dreams to the cowering valley-dwellers gathered below. It’s a trip. And often enough real pretty, besides. Thus do we find our lowly selves beguiled and bewitched by our host’s opening track, “We Buried Him Preciously.” (By the way, did I neglect to mention the charging synthetic[?] percussion displayed on this track? Yep, I sure did. Oh, well. Onward.)

Second track “Only Forever” gets into some eerily, hauntingly beautiful Eno-esque ambient new-agey stuff for the nonce. Then, on “My Naked Hands,” without so much as a politely tossed-off “Head’s up, dimwitted one!”, it’s as if we’re briskly trotting off from our beloved lofty domicile on high and raining down whatever justice we deem meet upon yon unfortunates lying beneath the notice of our ever-lofty sorrows. Sad indeed, but such are the whims and wiles of capricious fate. Meanwhile, “To Lurch and Fall” finds us wandering briefly in the isolated drift of our own somber woes. But then, in “An Old Confusion,” we’re off to do mighty battle in the service of whatever dark gods we wish to make our appeals to. “Do taste the cut of mine worthy steel blade, base varlet!”

“I Soon Will Be Myself Again” offers a hazy-eyed entreaty of all things slithering wearily, welcoming us to yon battle aftermath’s grave setting sun. Oh, woe be we… Whilst “Gestures in the Dark” is just that: Chilling, merciless, obsessively trudging through yon dusk-enshrouded wasteland in search of… what? “Vestiges,” perhaps… of our former, dimly-remembered humanity? Perhaps. Hark, for Another Grim World dost enticeth one here, methinks. And yet “White Haired” blearily brings us to our inevitable, if just, reward: Life-ever-lasting in Hela’s glorious realm of the dead.

Man-up, y’all!

P.S.: Seeing as I plainly forgot to add any input as to whether the record in question is worth getting a hold of, please allow me to wholly and unequivocably state for the defense that the above “buy or die” remark remains entirely on the money. Thanking you.

Ioannis Sotirchos

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One Comment on “Westering

  1. Pingback: Westering (via ) « Anthropomorphic Ambiguity

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