Canadian black metal crushers Wilt examine frailty, Apocalypse on sobering second effort ‘Ruin’

We make so many references to Apocalypse on this site, it almost feels like it has become a creative crutch. With the current political climate especially here in the U.S. but also around the world, it feels like it could be any minute before we’re counting our days until the end of time.

A lot of this has to do with the music we cover and the absolute darkness that permeates so much of it. That same thing can be said for Canadian black metal band Wilt and their tremendous second record “Ruin.” The album is a concept piece about the frailty of mankind and is inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road about a father and son trying to make their way and survive after a global Armageddon-style event. At the same time, the band also is reflecting on the loss of a close friend during the recording process, and the music and words are racked with pain, loss, anxiety, and guilt. It’s not a smooth, easy listen as a result, and if some of this hits home for you like it did for me, you also might find yourself examining your mental makeup and some of the things that have caused life-long scars. The band—vocalist Jordan Dorge, guitarists Brett Goodchild and Jay Edwards, bassist Craig Peeples, and drummer Myke Lewis—have conjured something more immersive and much darker than what they revealed on their impressive 2015 debut “Moving Monoliths,” and this collection will push your concept of what it means to be a human being.

“Into the Unknown” starts the journey as the main character heads off into mystery, with no idea what lies ahead. The track starts slowly, with melody slowly bleeding in, and as creaked growls join the mix, the melody bursts. Wrenching howls and sweeping playing catches you up in the pit of emotion, while the final moments are dark, bleak, and a hint of what lies ahead. “We Read the World Wrong” is tumultuous from the start, pounding down with anger and scorn, with Dorge crying, “You’ll see what could have been, what should have been!” The track is both melodic and abrasive as hell, with gazey riffs raining down and capturing your senses, and everything flooding and rushing toward you without mercy. “Strings of a Lingering Heart” has drums pummeling, as Dorge unleashes hell, screaming, “I wish I could escape this!” Guitars continue to add pressure but also loop colors into the shadows, adding new hues to the deep sadness. “All is lost,” Dorge declares, as the sound pounds its way into the ground.

“Summons Has Come” is the longest track at 10:12, and it unleashes a gazey surge at the start, which eventually lets a deluge of guitars cascade and saturate the ground. The track churns and creates smoke, with the guitars smashing holes and letting in rays of light. Later, the song speeds up dangerously, with Dorge basically shredding his throat, howling, “I leave this world behind,” amid a storm of madness. “Veil of Gold” is one of the gnarliest songs here, and the pain and self-loathing is evident. The track feels doomy and heavy, with Dorge declaring, “I am the forgotten.” There’s a slower pace for a while, as the tumult builds, and Dorge unleashes one of his most telling lines of the story when he lashes, “I am a waste of flesh, bury me!” The track continues to descend into darkness from there, as the track bleeds away scornfully. Finale “Requiem” is a shorter, instrumental curtain closer, with solemn guitars buzzing, melody flowing, and the guitars developing atmosphere, with the track dissolving and disappearing.

Wilt have created a devastating, sobering piece with “Ruin,” as this six-track, 44-minute album brings heaviness both in the music and in the painful story it tells. Even if the world isn’t ending, there are people who face personal, seemingly life-ending crises every day, a there is a lot for them to cull from this record. We are fragile, vulnerable, and sometimes it takes a painful tribulation to remind us.

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