WiltUpon forming, back in 2010, Winnipeg’s Wilt’s original intention was to create a black metal studio-only project. Since, the duo of guitarist Brett Goodchild and vocalist Jordan Dorge have assembled a full lineup and have started hitting the festival circuit with a bit of success.

Now, for this, their debut long-player, the quintet bring us four snaking tracks of blackened doom filled with buckets of blast beats, swathes of dissonance, extended chord couplets and the standard fayre of screeching, drone-tastic, monochromatic, acid-gargling vocals direct from the colourless lips of the undead themselves.

What hits you hardest of all, besides Dorge’s toasted throat, is the lack of warmth or colour in their music. It’s to be expected considering the subject matter offers “a unique glimpse into the human condition, for all its faults, heartbreak and despair” but it is no less of a shock to find it so brutally emotionless in the way in which it dissects the insidious disease within.

Right from the off, they fire up the slow, atmospheric doom machine. When the freezing blasts of drum and screech eventually kick in they cut through the fog like a shadowy, howling phantom. The downbeat tone and dark portents hit home and the temperature plummets. Beware the tuneless quality of “The Elder” – it is particularly nasty and relentlessly unforgiving. You absolutely get the sense of the horror and of the soul being torn asunder.

With each of the first three tracks cruising on past the 11-minute mark, all the while hammering their mournful tune with the same monochromatic attack and pitch, it really is heavy-going. The crumb of comfort here is the variation of pace which allows for some particularly neat shifts in vehemence. After 41 excruciating minutes it seems safe to surmise that this really is a work bereft of joy.

With so little variation and such a harsh, caustic attack marrying itself to the depressive tone, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but, as they probably say in Canada, if you don’t like the cold, get out of the fridge.

(5.5/10 John Skibeat)