Endlesshade – Wolf Will Swallow the Sun
Label: Rise Without End Records
Release Date: February 22, 2015
I was looking for death/doom bands when I came across Endlesshade‘s album Wolf Will Swallow the Sun. I was enticed by the striking artwork to check it out, and the piano on the intro of the first song “Post Mortem” really caught my attention. It was very dark and haunting but furthermore there was something about it that really hooked me. It was like I couldn’t switch it off even if I’d wanted to (which I most certainly did not). It went on for about two minutes in very methodical fashion repeating the same notes over and over until suddenly the music was filled with a slow and melodic style of death metal that was every bit as captivating, and I knew then that I’d found a band that I desperately needed more of.
The first thing that needs commented on are the vocals. My god does Natalia Androsova have a powerful voice. The only women that I’ve ever heard that even come close to the power of her growls are Angela Gossow – whose voice is too thickly layered to take seriously half the time (see Doomsday Machine) – and Csilla Tóth-Kovács of Hungarian band Angelus, who simply sounds like she’s been possessed. Not going to lie, I decided to listen to this band because I thought I’d get some heavenly clean singing, but I’m more than happy to settle for the crushing growls that Natalia delivers instead. I’m not too keen on the random sections of speaking, but I’ll gloss over that as they’re short and the rest of the vocals are so good that I pretty much forget about them as soon as they’re finished.
It’s worth noting also that the guitars are very different from most death/doom bands. Usually they’ll work together to create crushing riffs and occasionally provide some leads, normally taking it in turns to do that. Here, one guitarist plays the heavy riffs in the background as a platform for the other more than being instrumental to the band’s success (although I wouldn’t exactly write it off as being important either). While he’s doing that, the other guitarist plays very melodic leads over the top that add another dimension to the band’s work. The leads are never too complex to follow, but they are always very mournful and manage to convey a lot of emotion to the listener.
Atmospheric stuff can be very good if it’s done properly, and Endlesshade never come close to failing in their use of it. The tinkering piano in the background makes a bleak atmosphere come to life in the darkest way possible, giving off an evil sense in a way that I have never heard and frankly never thought possible. I’m no fan of black metal, but the use of elements from the genre really helps the band to channel the heavy atmosphere into Wolf Will Swallow the Sun. I should also point out that there are plenty of sections where the heavy guitars and the monstrous growls come to a halt altogether and allow for a quiet ambient section to come into effect and show that the band’s talents just don’t end, as they’re among the best that I’ve ever heard – and a lot of bands have done similar things very well.
The continuity from one song to the other makes the album flow very easily and it’s easy to picture the entire duration of Wolf Will Swallow the Sun as one long song that ebbs and flows from the heavy to the melodic to the ambient sections. The band go about their work in an incredibly unique style and it impresses me to no end what they can accomplish. This is a masterpiece, not unlike another release from a different Ukrainian band. I don’t think that I can look at death/doom in the same way again because of this album, just as I can’t look at melodeath in the same way because of Infinite Tales‘s debut. Here’s to the future, which is surely bright for this band even if their music isn’t quite so happy.