Sunwølf - SW III: Beholden to Nothing and No One (Own Label)

A post-rock odyssey of epic proportions...
Release Date: 
29 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

Leeds natives Sunwølf sit at the very edge of Metal as Fuck territory. Sure, there’s the odd squall of sludgy, strangled guitar sticking out occasionally, with isolated bits of deranged shouting and aggressive percussion also finding their way into the mix, but for the most part SW III... is a deliciously bleak, unforgiving slice of ambient/post rock that might just be a bit too much for the more beleathered amongst us…

This impressively ambitious double set gets off to a heavy enough start – most of the metal-friendly content has been loaded into the top end of the album – before levelling off into the band’s default setting of stark, spare, unsettling soundscapes that occasionally throw in some politically-charged samples at key moments but generally just go for the heart of the brain via some angular noisemaking and spacious productions that have all the sounds coming at you at once in what seems to be at times one giant, uncomfortable headrush.  

Did you run out of breath reading that last sentence? Well that’s quite possibly how you’ll feel whilst listening to the likes of the frankly frightening Come O Spirit, Dwell Amongst Us; This might not be heaviness in the accepted, Fleshgod Apocalypse sense of the term, but it is undeniably heavy, the sheer weight of the sonics pushing down on your chest and expelling the very breath from your lungs. It’s brutally effective, yet possessed of a strange, Miltonian terrible beauty that beguiles as much as it appals.

The more impatient amongst you might argue that 84 minutes of this stuff is possibly pushing it – and the effect of some of the material here is undeniably lessened by the sheer amount of horror on offer – but that’s probably missing the point. Music such as this doesn’t come as neat, three minute snapshots all the time – it has to be given room to grow and develop, such is its organic nature – so if that means twelve minutes of none-more-black drone interspersed with a jazz-club piece of guitar noodling called Ithaca, then so be it.  The fact that you have no real idea where any of this is heading – especially on the second disc’s more progressive, droning instalments – is all part of the attraction. This is strong stuff, and if you’ve an open enough mind to accept that beauty doesn’t just come from a seven string Ibanez then there’s  much to enjoy here.