Winglord – The Chosen One

I am calling this new genre post-black-metal. It is the spirit and mood of black metal, the rhythms of 1980s EBM and industrial, the samples and collage technique of martial industrial, the atmosphere of neofolk, the sweeping epic point of view of soundtracks, and that sense of world music evoking the spirit of ancient tribalist folk songs from Europe that Dead Can Dance had going. Mix all this together, and you get a new genre which has a few members such as Kreuzweg Ost, later Burzum, Arcana, Lord Wind and even the Beherit ambient albums.

This is a natural progression for black metal. It admitted its 1970s synthpop and ambient cosmic music influences. Even more, it was influenced by Danzig’s Black Aria and other soundtracks like those from Vangelis and Basil Poledouris. Metal itself was influenced by the soundtracks to 1960s Italian horror cinema. Beherit put out two ambient albums, Burzum two, and Darkthrone released its Tangerine Dream tribute band Neptune Towers. Even Emperor released that keyboard version of “Inno a Satana,” and Ildjarn put out three ambient landscape music albums. It’s in black metal’s blood, and with the end of the innovation of the style itself in the mid-1990s, the bands turned to the next step. More instruments, longer songs, more modes, more complexity.

Rolling on the success of bands such as Blood Axis and Lord Wind, the newest entry into this field is Winglord, a Scandinavian produce that hopes to rebirth the ancient spirit of Europe through synth-piano music. As mentioned above, it’s poppy like old Ministry or VNV Nation, but it has more musicality going on, like a Dead Can Dance track. It’s easy to listen to and yet melancholy, yet brings forth a message of not “small hopes” in the way modern music is “uplifting” but does nothing about the larger crisis of living in an insane and dying society, but instead shows us a way we can conquer the disease of this time. First in our hearts, then in our minds, then with our hands. It’s inspiration not through external forces, but through a sense of power, which is where it is most like black metal.

These tracks are built on a foundation of martial industrial and industrial dance (EBM). Verse-chorus loops are broken by interludes; layers extend melodies with different conclusions and beginnings. Melodies themselves, in a manner much like the way Summoning expands its riffs into soundtrack-style phrases, unfurl from lush keyboard layers into linear variation which then outlines the themes of each songs. It’s highly organized however which makes the entire listening experience a controlled, evocative process.

The Chosen One is a huge improvement over earlier Winglord, and shows us one future for this genre. It doesn’t aspire at all to the trends and individualistic ego-drama of the modern time. Instead, it creates for us a vista of a land outside of time, in which eternal values obliterate all of our temporal concerns, and lets us get lost and swept up in this majestic wave of power. For those who like good music, and want to see some new motion in the underground, this is a vital and impressive undertaking to be enjoyed.

The Chosen One
Arktos, 2012, 43 minutes, $17.

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