From what I’ve gathered from listening to metal for, like, the past three decades and from interacting with some of the people who indulge in it, I have gathered it is not proper to have human emotions unless they are anger, morbidity, hatred, doom-ridden terror, and/or lust. Sadness and depression, while making huge inroads, still are kind of scoffed at by a lot of people because metal = tough Viking no tears.
Of course, I’m generalizing a bit, and really, things have changed in some circles when it comes to making metal that shows vulnerability, but you know people. You know the Internet. Probably as tired as people get of rubes like me espousing the virtue of acceptance and treating others like humans with feelings, I get irritated at these folks who bristle at showing any sensitivity. If any of them are among us, they might want to see their way out as we discuss “Moving Monoliths,” the debut record from Canadian band Wilt. I have been through this album many times now, and the one thing that really grips me is just how emotional and human these songs are. It’s heavy and crushing, yes, but it also gets me inside, when having a particular spell with loneliness and sadness often can mix well with music like this. I never get the idea we’re off for bloodshed or that brutality is the most important element. Records like these are very necessary, and for folks like me who like to spend time with kindred spirits when I’m down, this album is bound to become a great companion.
Wilt aren’t weepy or overly solemn or anything. This is black metal at its heart, and atmospherically so, and what started as a studio project has morphed into something greater, something on a grander scale that sounds like it could enjoy one hell of a creative shelf life. Originally the creation of vocalist Jordan Dirge and guitarist Brett Goodchild, the band put out its initial EP in 2012, and after creating a live lineup, took their music to the people. As time went on and the music was embraced by more and more people, the band turned into a full operation, with Jay Edwards (guitar), Mike Lewis (bass), and Blair Garraway (drums) added to the fold. The result is this great album that grows in grandeur with each listen.
“Illusion of Hope” rolls open its 11:46 running time slowly, letting the waves lap and the atmosphere develop. The tone is majestic and melodic, with the music unfurling and spilling before the eruption happens and Dorge’s vocals explode. His expressions really convey the sense of anguish on this record, digging deep down and pulling out all of his darkness. The band unloads and shows the burlier side of their personality, smothering at points, letting the elements cascade in others, and they hit on some interesting, breath-taking progressions as the song goes on. Out of the gaze, the playing intensifies, furious shrieks are unloaded, and the song keeps up its will until is slowly trickles away. The title track follows, with the tempo slithering along and mournful guitars moaning with ache. The vocals bring even heavier tidings, with the band bringing wrenching emotion, making it seem like tears and blood are coming from their very instruments. The drums rumble, the elements keep pouring down, soaking the ground, and the personal heaviness completely overwhelms you and sweeps you away.
“The Elder” is the longest track by one second (it’s 13:09, while the title track is 13:08), and it wastes no time, ripping apart and feeling like the earlier days of Enslaved. Melody surges like a flood, while the vocals inject savagery into the scene. The pace begins to simmer, while the growls manage to pierce. The music feels like it is soaring through the stratosphere and into space, burning brightly and intensely, and then it starts to melt away. The music begins to bubble and brings with it coldness, and Dorge goes from animalistic howl to hushed whisper. Just as the gooseflesh crawls on your arms, the song detonates again, with a relentless fury unleashed and the band pouring every bit of fuel they have on the fire they’ve created, ensuring that everything burns away. The two-minute closer “Solitude” is an ideal way to end the record, as the instrumental cut wraps a bow on the album in a serene, calm manner, allowing you reflection after the bloodletting you just witnessed (or even participated in yourself).
To feel and address sadness and despair is human, and Wilt have provided a tremendous piece with “Moving Monoliths” that proves digging down into your deepest self can have rewarding results. Things don’t have to result in war and bloodied scalps all the time, and it’s great to have a band like this that can offer volume and heaviness but also a place to find solace.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wiltmb
To buy the album, go here: http://eihwazrecordings.com/distro/
For more on the label, go here: http://bindrunerecordings.com/