Whistling winds, chasmic echoes and moody melancholy are always good. To be fair, there’s a lot more than this in this carefully crafted epic journey from Werian, an old German word that has to do with werewolves, shamanism and the use of psychedelic meditation.
Whilst spiritual in its leanings and initially proposing a gentle post rock mood, the first of these three lengthy pieces develops into raw and old school black metal from a deep but undefined religious setting. The rhythm of “Hex” is compelling. It’s almost a German form of Windir. “Blade of Heresy” continues the spooky air. To resounding drum beats, a melancholic guitar line cries out. The mood changes three minutes in as the croaking vocals accompany an increasingly tense and dangerous atmosphere. The crumbly stoner style that we heard on “Hex” is here again, and blends with the driving rhythm as the winds gradually whip up. What is most impressive is the musical progression through these passages, which can be uplifting or sombre. Either way, the pattern is logical and the setting is the same: deep and dark. A discordant choir breaks into the sombre section towards the end, before ending dynamically. I was getting used to the quiet and suggestive introductory sections, and “March Through Ruins” has another one. That grainy stoner style cuts in again, but it goes at a fair lick before slowing down and developing a doomy post black metal aspect. The croaked whisperings provide the backdrop to the repressed intensity, which develops. The cosmic winds whistle as the fuzzy echoing guitar now sounds like a bell chiming. The drumbeat reinforces the constancy. Once again the mood develops skilfully as we enter a sombre sphere. This is no longer the world of Windir, but a much darker place. It’s now a gloomy and subtly evolving old black metal soundscape. This is a fine musical presentation of a melancholic march through ruins.
“Animist” is a very interesting album. Musically it is exciting, deep, striking in its theme and highly atmospheric. We pass through dark territories. I’d say it’s a journey worth taking.
(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)