The doom inspired riffs echo and rebound off the inner walls of the chamber as the heat and ferocity inside reaches fever pitch. All that tarred and molten rock begins to weep and seep under beautiful tremolo guitars and rolling drums.
Well, I have to say, getting hold of Wilderness Of Mirrors latest album was an exciting prospect. I have been a fan of Andie’s solo project for a while now, and having reviewed his last release Melancholia last year, I was mad eager to get my teeth into this album. So, just to paint the picture for you, the concept behind Extinction Level Event is one of what ifs and maybes. To quote Andie himself, “what would happen if a super volcano, such as the Yellowstone Caldera were to erupt?” Well Extinction Level Event hurtles you into the throes of such a nightmare, and with Andie’s gift of narrating through melody, sit back and brace yourself as the nightmare becomes reality once those headphones are put on.
Magma chamber opens proceedings with its long, heavy and reverbed notes filling the inner chamber, with sporadic drums causing the magma inside to bubble and boil, generating vile energy and ferocity. As soon as the main hook of the track gathers momentum, the melody begins to flow, slow and steady. The doom inspired riffs echo and rebound off the inner walls of the chamber as the heat and ferocity inside reaches fever pitch. All that tarred and molten rock begins to weep and seep under beautiful tremolo guitars and rolling drums. The energy is immense as it plunders forward with a sense of inevitability, and just like the chamber itself, it’s ready to unleash its power and fury.
That power is radiated once more on_ Harmonic Tremors_ through the harsh chugging riffs that sign the death march, as the snail-paced rhythm guitars gather momentum under a synthesised cloud of ash and fire. Similar to Magma Chamber, the atmosphere being created here is overwhelming, and Andie has this natural talent of making the music do all the talking, every guitar riff, every bass line and every drum crash is cleverly orchestrated and has its place and purpose in the bigger picture. This abundance of talent is showcased to perfection on the next track, Earth Sleeps-Nature Is Stirred-Eruption Begins.
It opens with calming, reassuring synths and dreamy guitars that blanket and comfort, as the world lies in slumber, blissfully unaware of what impending doom awaits. But, once the track erupts, the sheer weight and blackened beauty of the guitars and the forlorn piano keys spit lava and fire into the sky, releasing all that underground energy and potency. What follows this is a twelve-minute beast of a track named Pyroclastic Flow, that follows the trail of this molten mess as it meanders its way down the mountainside. Its slow, sluggish riffs, and soaring lead guitar builds on the tension and atmosphere. Musically, this is atmospheric post-metal at its finest, rich in harmonics with a dark underbelly, always tense and always hugely emotive. The closing few minutes of Pyroclastic Flow is as good an example of emotive metal as you will find anywhere. A masterclass in song writing.
Bliss Of Devastation Part 1 and part 2 showcase another string to Andie's bow. These two tracks are venomous and bitter, and as the title suggests, they devastate. Part 1 leans heavy on those sunken Black Sabbath riffs, but they’re cleverly washed over with hugely atmospheric lead guitars and deathly bass chords. Then you have part 2, which is an aural assault of post-black brilliance that gallops and crashes into a stone-walled riff, depicting the devastation caused by mother earth. More sombre piano keys break up the track before a tsunami of destruction takes over once more, played through down tuned riffs and forceful atmospherics.
Year Zero-Human Extinction-Nature Starts Over brings the curtain down on an album that literally throws you into the darkest recesses of humankind. The album, though hypothetical, could so very easily become reality. We as a race, are at the mercy of this planet. The rumblings and the tremors we feel and hear are warnings. We are tenants here, simple as! We can’t stop the earth from unleashing its anger whenever it decides to do so. Mankind needs to respect its power, and all we can do as mere mortals here, is be prepared.
Wilderness Of Mirrors and Andie have taken a huge leap on this release, stepping out of his comfort zone, and trying out something new. All previous releases have been very personal for Andie, where he wears his heart on his sleeve, and through his talent and creativity, gives rise to some of the most beautiful and equally melancholic pieces of music you will hear. Extinction Level Event shares all that beauty and darkness, but this time its from a different perspective. Enjoy!