Wolvserpent - Perigea Antahkarana | Review

I should like Perigea Antahkarana more. The latest from Wolvserpent, it hits plenty of the targets of what I enjoy: blackened doom, drone, expansive instrumental choices, voices that sound like they’re being astrally projected into the studio from the sixth dimension. Maybe it makes sense that my favorite track, “A Breath in the Shade of Time,” hits most of these, but at the same time, I’m actually confused. While I enjoy extreme music of all kinds, I’m a big rock guy, in terms of rhythm, momentum, the tension inherent in even a simple bass-drums-guitar lineup. And “A Breath” is almost entirely void of these things, instead consisting of about ten straight minutes of feedback drone overlaid with chanting vocals, opened by expressive cello work and closed in a harsh sound collage.

But, somehow, that’s the most exciting the record gets. The first and last ‘real’ tracks are fairly standard issue doom, super slow and very protracted. You could stretch an entire powerviolence album between the strums on closer “Concealed Among the Roots and Soil,” it takes so long with its time. This style is gratifying, certainly, or otherwise bands wouldn’t still be playing it. But so much more can be done with it: look at something from just this year, like Northless’s World Keep Sinking, or maybe 2012’s Longing by Bell Witch.

Wolvserpent prove this themselves with “A Breath,” which tries so many new things and ultimately succeeds at all of them. “In Mirrors of Water,” while carrying more of that doom baggage, nonetheless throws in a blackened barrage for good measure, varying things nicely. I don’t doubt live that I would want the exact opposite, desiring the crush of their standard-issue doom as opposed to drawn-out amplifier torture. But listening at home, the latter proves much more interesting to me, holds a greater draw. I can’t tell you why, it just is.

This is why I wished I liked Perigea more than I do. It’s certainly a well-made record, and Wolvserpent is a band that knows what it’s doing, but the things I want to excite me just don’t. Most of their atmosphere, being campfires and birdcalls and wind, is pretty par for the course in the genre, and there’s nothing about their riffs that puts them apart from most other riff purveyors. It’s not a bad record by any means, and if this style is your bag Wolvserpent do more than most with it. If only there was a little more of the strangeness of “Breath,” less of “Mirrors’” standard-issue riffs.

Rob Rubsam

Band info: www.facebook.com/wolvserpent
Label info: www.relapse.com

Rob Rubsam is a freelance writer and itinerant resident of Upstate New York. His writing about music has been published at CVLT Nation, Tom Tom Magazine, The Rumpus, Burning Ambulance, and others. When not contemplating giant squids or erecting a standing stone in his backyard, he tweets at @millenialistfun. Do not contact him with your black mass-related inquiries, please.