Saturday, November 9, 2013 Review #20 [Wijlen Wij - "Coronachs Of The Ω"]


Admittedly over the last year or so I've found myself having a lot of trouble finding new things to love from the up and coming doom metal bands exposed to me. For the most part, a lot of the groups I've heard just plod along mindlessly with no real sense of individuality, drive or purpose and as a whole I thought the scene was beginning to get stale (Some would argue with me that this has been the case for the last 5 or so years, but I'm not that cynical). So while a band like The Howling Void becomes noteworthy for being average and Skepticism and Shape of Despair start to become shells of their former selves and terrifying otherworldly groups like Septic Mind, Wormphlegm and Dolorian disappear back to their own dimension, Wijlen Wij has risen up from the underground and are easily one of the first bands I've heard this year worthy of being called a great funeral doom band. Make no mistake, these guys are not trying to be heavy just to be heavy. The atmosphere dripping out of the group's second record is a punishing blend of surreal dread, crushing riffs, depressing leads, monstrous vocals and beautiful keys.

For the skeptics in the group who seem to be writing them off as such, Wijlen Wij is not a copycat band by a long shot. Sure you can hear some Skepticism in the organ use and occasionally in the leads, but what these musicians are doing is much more than that and any fan of the funeral doom spectrum should definitely be sliding these guys into your regular listening rotation if you want something new that isn't just another Thergothon clone that's going to be forgotten about in a week. One of my favorite surprises on the album is the occasional use of clean and spoken vocals, which you are exposed to pretty early on through the opening track "Boreas", as well as "A solemn ode to ruin". The variety of tones used with the synthesizers and keyboards is fantastic, as the person behind them sees no need to stick to the same style for very long at all. Elements of darkwave, industrial and dark ambient are all heard at different points alongside actual piano, bell and organ elements typically found in this type of music. Also, is it weird that a lot of the music on this record actually sounds really catchy to me? It could just be that I'm a little crazy myself, but the entrancing aura is definitely there if you spend the time with it.

As far as the rest of the elements go, the growls are solid and while they don't really break any new ground, they're good and they fit in well with the rest of the music and the overall mood being conveyed as the record moves along. The guitars are splendid, both in terms of the dreamy lead work and the crushing rhythmic chugging sections. The drumwork, as well, is great and is more spacious and unforceful than most doom drummers I've heard, especially while still maintaining a concise level of flare with his pattern choices. Everything about this record is exactly what I've been looking for all year and had been unable to find. Take a strong lesson from Wijlen Wij, regain your levels of individuality and take some chances! There should never be such a thing as 'safe' funeral doom metal. Ever. Forever. I wanted to also make note of the fact that while this album is not out yet, the band expects it to be coming out in the early part of 2014 through Solitude Productions


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