Wolcensmen were due to be playing at the Indie Recordings Label Night as a precursor to this year’s Inferno Metal Festival but world events have of course laid those plans to rest. The festival will return next Easter and by way of an alternative celebration of Eostre in the meantime, Wolcensmen offered up an “intimate, probably imperfect, yet unique concert from the comfort of my small wood cabin” to be streamed through the Inferno facebook page.

I’m sure most readers will be familiar with Wolcensmen, but for those who aren’t, Dan Capp (perhaps better known for his role with Winterfylleth) began the journey back in 2013 with a demo and during the last 7 years (which have seen two albums and an EP), he has steered the ship to its current position as one of the leading dark folk bands around, weaving acoustic guitar and clean vocals with cello, synth, piano and percussion creating evocative ambient hymns.

Sadly I missed the beginning of the show due to technical issues at my end, but when I got the link sorted, the first track was coming to an end and I got my first glimpse of the slightly surreal gig “venue” which was a wooden cabin (reminiscent of a garden shed) complete with foliage, a couple of candelabras and the Wolcensmen backdrop.

After quickly checking a text message to see whether there were any problems with the stream, and being reassured that “All is good”, Wolcensmen mainman Dan welcomed people to the evening, and introduced the second track ‘Hooves Upon the Shimmering Path’ (from the first album and the demo) and before long sublime melody and haunting vocals were creating a rich atmosphere, and it became easy to lose yourself in the music and forget that this was actually a stream rather than a gig.

The track quickly came to a close and Dan took a moment to thank Inferno Metal Festival and pointed out that ironically the only band the infamous extreme metal festival had been able to host this year was an acoustic act! He went on to reflect on the link between his work with Wolcensmen and black metal, and hinted that this link would become more apparent a little later in the set.

‘Lady of the Depe’ followed with its quintessentially English feel as evocative melodies cascaded forth exploring the folklore surrounding the Lady of the Lake. Once the final notes faded, there was further reflection on the fact that the whole Wolcensmen band were due to have been playing at the Indie Recordings warm up night a few nights ago, and explained that tonight’s more ambient set was from a recent acoustic tour. A little guitar tuning followed during which, we were all asked whether we had a drink, to which I raised my glass of Highland Park – Skål!

The set turned towards the aforementioned black metal roots as Wolcensmen’s interpretation of Bathory’s ‘Man of Iron’ followed. Although, this has been recorded by Wolcensmen previously, this live version was superb and (this may be considered heresy by some) surpassed the Bathory original. It was at this point that I had a look at how many people were watching the stream and was pleased to see that the count was consistently over 500.

The next song was introduced as being important to play, not just because it was a Sunday but specifically Easter Sunday. Of course Easter was originally a pre Christian pagan Spring festival named after Eostre, the Goddess of Dawn who rides hand in hand with Sunne (who I believe is the Scandinavian Sun Goddess), so the next song was a hymn to Sunne, simply called ‘Sunne’. Technical problems (the guitar was left in tune mode) meant the song had to be restarted, but the vocal melodies were simply stunning and this track was a highlight of the set.

The penultimate track was drawn from the latest album, ’Fire in the White Stone’ which is a concept album based around a short story penned by Dan himself. ‘Sprig to Spear’ followed exploring the importance of self realisation and finding inner strength which is more relevant now than ever. The track’s beautiful acoustic melody and vocal lines were perfect in this intimate setting and for this locked down Sunday evening.

The final track ‘The Fyre-Bough’ took us back to the debut album and was a fitting finale to the set, building to its evocative climax. Finally, the set was drawn to a close and we were all invited to the the Wolcensmen facebook page for a Q&A.

This whole venture was a huge success and Indie Recordings, Inferno Metal Festival and especially Wolcensmen are to be thanked for putting it on and pulling it together at such a difficult time.

Andy Pountney

Wolcensmen – Through the Ether (Live)

Wolcensmen performing from a location in England on Easter Sunday, 2020.https://wolcensmen.com/https://shop.indierecordings.no/https://infernofestival.net/

Posted by Indie Recordings on Sunday, 12 April 2020