Back in early 2016 I covered The Wolvennest Sessions via a collaboration between the Belgian musical chemists and Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand. It was an intriguing and depressive descent that took in doom, drone, psyche rock, experimentation and Krautrock and stirred it all up over three heady numbers. Wolvennest seem to be getting more exposure of late and the band who contain members of Cult Of Erinyes, Mongolita and Temple Of Nothing are billed to play Roadburn in 2017. Now they have released a self-titled album that on first play was both familiar and less so. The deja-vu here was realisation that two of the 5 tracks had appeared on the previous sessions and Der Blutharsch members Albin Julius and Marthynna are featured as guests and co-writers.

‘Unreal’ is the first of the 2 flashbacks hitting like a surreal acid trip to the outer limits with retro keyboards and spacey motifs before bedding down on a gloomy melodic trawl with hypnotic vocals. The first time around I credited these to Marthynna but now they do sound very slightly different and are probably provided by Shazzula Vultura. Information provided is sketchy at best and for that reason a suitable air of mystery is retrained about the whole project. It’s quite a gorgeous number that slowly twists and ebbs over its lengthy running time and contains both a moribund feel of joylessness as well as a heady fragrance. I was more than happy to welcome it back. Like an old black and white movie soundtrack strange sampled sounds (perhaps) and arcane organ work lead into ‘Patir’ and heft and weight are added by slow monolithic drums. Air is breathed into things by haunting melody and you are carried off on a comfortably numb, narcotic fug that’s almost gentle and in absolutely no hurry. There’s some background chants lingering well beneath the surface making up for lack of any more defined vocals. Hippy finger cymbals clang and we go into a dense musical mantra with all the levels pushed right up to the limits on ‘Tief Unter.’ This one must really shake the foundations live and sounds humungous as stirring keyboards swoop in and it all jangles away. It’s instrumental before calming down and spoken parts echo like ghosts in French, adding all the more mystery.

Wolvennest really weigh their anchor with the massive 20 minute odyssey that is ‘Out Of Darkness Deep,’ the other track I knew from previous exploration. What’s there to say about a number like this but be prepared to submerge yourself, get buried and go with the flow. It swirls in the ether, gradually forming with beguiling melody and vocals taking you by the hand into labyrinthine depths. The only real way to fully appreciate this one is to experience it yourself and that’s not a cop out; a completely enchanting and ritualistic journey. Crawling out of this there is a final number to help regain senses not that ‘Nuit Noire de L’âme offers any real respite in the dark night of the soul with what sounds like The Great Beast himself taking us into a magickal lysergic soundscape proving the trip is not quite over yet and not without a last hint of danger sounding like Hawkwind going right off the deep end. Having survived it all the question that remains is dare you press play and undertake it again? Musical psychonauts, this is your captain speaking and the answer is yes!

(8/10 Pete Woods)