Belgium’s Wolvennest have made quite the impact since the release of their self-titled debut last year- teaming up with Albin Julius and Marthynna of Der Blutharsch and The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand for a first record is a strong choice and gives listeners an idea of the strangeness that will ensue long before they’ve pressed play. Comprised of Michel Kirby (La Muerte/Arkangel), Marc De Backer (Mongolito), Corvus Von Burtle (Cult of Erinyes), Sharon Shazzula (Aqua Nebula Oscillator), John Marx and Bram Moerenhout (taking over drums from Jason Van Gullick this year), the band pull from a varied pool of influences to create a sound that encapsulates ‘70s kraut rock and early ‘90s Norwegian black metal. The six piece have received high acclaim from critics and fans alike and have already made waves playing the likes of 2017’s Roadburn, House Of The Holy, 2016’s Desertfest Belgium, and Acherontic Arts Fest III, as well as providing support for the likes of Electric Wizard, Urfaust, DOOL and Wolves In The Throne Room.

With so much adulation riding on the strength of one record the pressure is truly on for their sophomore effort ‘VOID’ – even more so as this release doesn’t have the helping hand of Der Blutharsch to guide them. ‘VOID’ promises to “bring you into mysterious emotions and intense musical feelings” and certainly delivers. Opening track ‘Silure’ is a heady and atmospheric intro of synths and feedback, launching into densely layered and murky sounding guitars; the familiar 90s Norwegian black metal that made Wolvennest’s music so irresistible on their last release. The addition of psychedelia adds a ritualistic element to the remaining five songs – the lyrical content is extremely basic, however, and becomes monotonous and repetitive, especially on songs such as ‘Ritual Lovers’ and ‘Void’. However, the infusion of sitars added to the atmospheric synths and grandiose riffs makes the banality of the vocals easy to overlook.

This is a record that will sound absolutely massive when performed live, however, the vocals are the weakest point of the entire opus – ‘VOID’ would have benefited hugely from being purely instrumental. Fortunately, the parts that are sung are relatively sparse making it easier to enjoy the instrumental parts. ‘VOID’ is a double edged sword – a display of intelligent song writing and magnificent musical talent, but also a lesson on how your music can suffer if you allow someone unable to sing to bleat all over the top of it.

(6/10 Angela Davey)