Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wynjara - Wynjara

Wynjara - Wynjara
2000, Nocturnal Art Productions

I tend not to listen to new death metal bands, unless I can see from a long distance off that they are legitimately offering something new. Can you blame me? If asked point blank, I doubt I could give you any good reasons for being in a death metal band, unless one feels very familiar with the stylistics of that genre, and can not really expand upon those aesthetics to reach a more satisfying form of expression. With this death metal revival that's been going on for the past two years or so (springing into being mainly as a reaction against black metal's dominance, I always think) a lot of older bands are once again shouldering their armor and marching into the fray, either with the intent to 'show the young kids how it was done' (and that makes me feel very old) or because of their own renewed interest in making music, or for money, or whatever. That's fine. I would rather listen to 'more experienced' bands anyway, or the work of a select few musicians that I have been following for a while now: Rutan, Azagthoth, Vigna, McEntee, etc. This band features ex-members of scene stalwarts such as Malevolent Creation, Monstrosity, and Divine Empire, and it's refreshing to hear that they broke with their former bands in order to experiment a little. I'm sure it feels good for them to have a little breathing room apart from 'brutal death metal', and that they are able to explore other sides of their talents with this band.

Wynjara doesn't exactly have a set style that they follow, or a list of principles to convert into a manifesto. I'm guessing that they mainly wanted to expand on the music of their former bands a little, opening up their abilities for sound sculpture, maybe, or composing songs that weren't so obsessed with pummeling the listener - Wynjara's music breathes more freely than Malevolent Creation's, for example, and leaves space for the building and collapsing of sparse, abstract atmospheres: listen to their cover of the Scorpion's 'Animal Magnetism', the twelth selection on this album, for an example of that new concentration. Mixing a slowhand blues aesthetic beneath heavily distorted guitars and technically perfect drumming (as far as I can determine), they go from crawling, crunching sedate numbers to more vicious slices of death metal aggressiveness. There is also a fair amount of expert clean guitar here (see the closer 'Banumbirr' especially), constructing melancholy passages to counterbalance the rage of their faster songs...all of this music is very well constructed, and the members' experience shows...

Also of note is the production on this record: it's just about perfect for this kind of also sounds...'experienced' somehow, as if this band knew exactly what they wanted in the studio and didn't settle for anything less. All the instruments come through very clean and clear, and the drums are recorded so as not to let a single bass kick or snare snap to escape your attention...admirable.

Ultimately I'm guessing that this band will probably attract a lot of attention based on its members' former bands or the support of label head Samoth, but they deserve a wider awareness of their music based simply on its own merits. This may not be the most original music, or far enough from death metal to merit an 'experimental' tag, but it is excellent for what it tries to be and succeeds, I think, in allowing these guys a little more room for improvisation and innovation. If they continue with this - who knows? Maybe their next work will be even more creative...