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W.A.I.L.: Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy

W.A.I.L. are a Finnish metal band who have been around for a few years now. The band's acronym stands for Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy, which also happens to be the title of their latest album. Originally released as an album in 2009 it has now recently been made available on CD.

The band's current line-up consists of A.E. (guitars, vocals), S.F. (drums, percussion, keyboards), P.R. (vocals) and J.I. (bass, synths). I have not heard the original LP but according to the press release the CD features improved mastering. The title, while certainly a mouthful, does tell us much about the band's style of music. This is doom flavoured black metal filled with murky soundscapes and eerie guitar riffage coming straight out of the abyss. Listening to the album is an emotionally draining experience and I mean that in a good way. This is intense music to say the least and not for the musically timid.

The guitar playing of A.E. is a definite highlight throughout the CD. His slow plodding riffs, often sustained for greater effect add an ominous dark tone that at times is downright creepy. The vocals of P.R. are mostly growled so if that is not your cup of tea you best look elsewhere. They are very well done and serve to add to the intensity.

The album contains only five tracks but three are over ten minutes so there is plenty of time for the band to explore their dark side. The album begins with the short "Initiation" with its ominous intro of eerie guitar chords that slowly build, adding to the tension. The doomy riffs are slow and heavy and the use of hand drums works very well. The vocals are not so much words but a kind of chanting that also adds to the overall darker atmosphere.

The rest of the songs are taken from the album's title, the first being "Wisdom", another heavy offering of spacious doom-inspired bass playing and monstrous riffs. The riffs are slow and fast; doom and black metal meeting head on.

The desolate sounding "Agony" is a contrast of styles as drawn out riffs and a marching drum beat is juxtaposed with beautiful choral style vocals and clean guitar that mixes nicely with the surrounding chaos of sound.

In the ferocious sounding "Illumination" heavy drum fills and varying tempos are relieved by sparse keyboards as the music seems to move in slow motion making for an intriguing combination.

The album ends with "Lunacy", beginning with gentle cymbal work and crunchy riffs, a sort of beauty and the beast approach. The haunting violin of guest musician Katherine Moisio enters amidst the growls and dirge which also serves to heighten the senses before everything stops and mellower guitar notes take hold. The atmosphere the band creates is palpable. Finnish black/doom metal is alive and well thanks to bands like W.A.I.L. Hopefully the journey will continue…

Track Listing:
1. Initiation
2. Wisdom
3. Agony
4. Illumination
5. Lunacy

Added: March 24th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 3049
Language: english

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