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Wild Hunt - "Before the Plane of Angles" (CD)

Wild Hunt - "Before the Plane of Angles" CD cover image

"Before the Plane of Angles" track listing:

1. Eidetic Parallax (16:10)
2. Panorama (7:58)
3. Window To The Nether (9:20)
4. Unravel The Veil Of Separation, Bask In The Serenity Of Discord (3:11)
5. Plane Of Angles (16:04)

Reviewed by on May 31, 2012

"Not every minute is a success, but the rate of positivity outweighs any negative connotations."

Wild Hunt’s debut album “Before The Plane Of Angles” has a couple of strong qualities to it. First is the nonlinear music, which would need about six different hyphens to make sense of from a genre perspective. Second is not one, but two 16-minute opuses that bookend the album. Third is the ambient outro for each song, which are a mixture of noise and field recordings. These three factors, along with a few other aspects, make “Before The Plane Of Angles” stand out from a ballooning metal landscape.

That’s not to proclaim that “Before The Plane Of Angles” is a crowd pleaser, with the same appeal of a Lamb Of God or Mastodon album. This is not friendly for the casual metal head, nor is it something with disposable immediacy. To be honest, this album as a whole is a tough sell. It’s very polarizing and dense, no doubt reinforced by having two songs that would raise concerns from even the most progressive band. Not every minute is a success, but the rate of positivity outweighs any negative connotations.

No attempt will be made to paint Wild Hunt’s sound in a pretty little picture for everyone to stare at and dissect. There’s a taste of black metal, a leveled scoop of doom metal, and a sprinkling of light progressive metal. That is, of course, a simplistic analysis that can only be ascertained from a proper listen. Think of “Before The Plane Of Angles” as a case of “a little something for everyone” It works for the band, with plenty of harmonic guitar leads, spats of blasting, and lulling passages of acoustic levity.

Anybody looking at the track listing will draw their attention to “Eidetic Parallax” and “Plane Of Angles,” which cross over the 15-minute threshold with little fan fare. They are two different tunes, the former a hard-headed monster that takes a few tries to crack open, and the latter a sinister heavyweight with a soft touch. These tracks are where the essence of the band lies, capable at extended instrumental jamming and down-to-earth black metal rampage. If one can overcome the jaunting length of the tracks, there is much to discover within each one.

Wild Hunt has intended “Before The Plane Of Angles” as a complete record; five pieces meant to be digested whole. To help with that, outros of strict ambience are used as placeholders to connect each track. They have their place in the confines of the underlying theme of enlightenment and finding one’s true identity, though having half of the eight minutes that “Panorama” takes up dedicated to this was a questionable move. Not so with the interlude “Unravel The Veil Of Separation, Bask In The Serenity Of Discord,” which sets the right tone for “Plane Of Angles.”

“Before The Plane Of Angles” is an album of extremes shifts. Raspy screams and tremolo-picked riffs will transition to majestic clean vocals and melodic solos on the fly. This writer was personally on the fence about this album for days; it was only after a late-night excursion in dim lighting that everything began to click in Wild Hunt’s favor. A fresh new band like Wild Hunt deserves a shot to see if people will stick to an album as obtuse as “Before The Plane Of Angles.”

Highs: Band always keeps the listener on the edge with numerous tempo shifts, no fear in stepping away from black metal roots, never a shortage of chances taken

Lows: The 16-minute epics falter under the weight of their ambition, not very conventional to the average listener

Bottom line: A provoking debut album that is hard to process, but worth the many listens it will take to figure it out.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)