PICK OF THE WEEK: WOLD remain at war with melody, convention on noise-drenched ‘Postsocial’

Photo by Louis Caldarola

Photo by Louis Caldarola

Not all music is created equal, and not all bands make art to end up on Best Buy ends caps, energy drink-sponsored tours, or on that Liquid Metal satellite radio station during daylight hours. No offense intended to those bands, but thankfully there are those that do the polar opposite of that, almost like they are pushing you away and poking your eyes.

If I ever see a WOLD record in a Best Buy or on any bill that has a Rock Star energy drink (or whatever that poison’s called) logo on an elaborate, ridiculously designed poster, I will assume all the other bands in the world died, or it is a giant troll from Fortress Crookedjaw (who handles guitars, electronics, programming, and the goblin-esque vocals) to sicken the masses and brainwash them into seeing things his way. What a scary world that would be, though if WOLD were to hold court at some all-day amphitheater show in the summer, it would be worth seeing for the sight alone. And for the mass panic and confusion. Lots of crying in $7 Coors Light cups.

WOLD coverIf you’re new to WOLD’s sound, here’s an idea of what it’s like. Go into your basement with an old cassette deck, and take with you an aged, scratchy black metal demo from the ’90s. Then, fill your dryer with a bunch of shoes and rocks. Then plug in a table saw. Now, play them all at the same time, and you have a basic understanding of how chaotic all of this is. There are so many noisy layers on “Postsocial,” as well as the group’s other recordings, that it all practically congeals into one big monster. If you require melody and hooks, you have come to the wrong place. This is confrontational, but in an enveloping way, like a toxic gas cloud or a massive insect storm. You’re definitely going to react to the music in some way, and many people are bound to find this hideous and unpleasant. I can see their point. But if you can get your head into it—and I got mine in the band way back on “Screech Owl” —you’ll find a world of mass static, where you’re sure to drown in a sea of misery and psychological confusion.

Lyrically, the content is pretty mysterious, though the band does give you a tiny glimpse into what’s going on. The five tracks are based on each point of the inverted star, and as expected, there are ritualistic tones weaved into this thing, as well as so many other elements that WOLD have chosen to keep to themselves. Their philosophies are weaved into the madness, and at times, it feels like their music is full of so many paths, thoughts, and ideas converging upon themselves, leaving you to try to make sense of it all. Don’t feel bad if you can’t. Probably no one outside of Fortress Crookedjaw is capable of doing that. Maybe it’s better that way.

Opener “Throwing Star” puts the violence right in your face immediately, with furious noise penetration, nightmarish vocals that sound like they’re coming from something not even remotely human, but what’s that? An actual melody beneath the madness? Yes, it’s there, and it’s fleeting, but it’s a really intriguing moment that’s easy to miss. “Inner Space Infirmary” follows with noise roiling from the start, mesmerizing and numbing sounds that can capture your gaze and stretch it out for a thousand miles, and eventually a whipping sound that is apropos of the lashing going on at the moment. The song eventually feels like it is catapulted into space, where your lungs explode on impact, and the harsh, maniacal screams emitted match the pain. Poisonous fog rolls in, and the song ends with tortured wails.

“Five Points” begins with Crookedjaw howling, “Five points!” over and over again, probably the most decipherable words that come out of his mouth on the whole album. There are bizarre zaps that sound like a fleet of starships attacking your hometown, and noises keep striking at you. Fluid guitar lines can be heard under the layers and layers of chaos, and everything keeps gnawing at you as the song finally lets up its grasp. “Spiral Star Inversion” is the longest song on the record at 14:16—and most of the songs are nearly 10 minutes anyway, I should add—with stabbing guitars lacerating and feedback wailing out. While the track is fiery and buzzing, there also is some relative calm. Well, it’s calm in the WOLD world. Not your own. Some of the music feels like water is trickling and chimes are being agitated by breezes, almost like a spring day in hell. And it doesn’t last. Raw vocals erupt again, the dark haze envelops everything, there are wild piercing noises that could slice you up, and at one point, the crazed vocals become almost like an infant wail that feels like a hopeless plea for mercy. From there the noise returns, and crazed vocals bleed out at the end. Closer “Sapphire Sect of Tubal Cain” is all music, from weird, swirling keys, to percolating energy that eventually invites strong winds, and the final moments feel like an alien storm that threatens the power grid and humanity itself.

WOLD’s style, artwork, and approach are wholly unique. Name another band or artist that make noises like these. Choose another that can make sounds so deep, eerie, and terrifying that it gets in your head. No one has been able to match WOLD’s intensity and aura, and there will not be another record that sounds even remotely like “Postsocial” this year. Or maybe forever. Not everyone’s going to get this level of trauma, and people who don’t understand will pass this off as pure racket. That’s fine. It’s wrong, because there is an emotional depth few can comprehend. But for those willing to take the journey and really dig into this thing, you know passing off this, or any other WOLD record, as chaotic rubbish is pure foolishness. This is a group with a vision all their own, and every trip into their void is an insane one.

For more on the band, go here: http://wold-klan.blogspot.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/