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Vieux 12/11/2015, 17h57   #1
Jean
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Par défaut Wildernessking - Mystical Future - Reviews

The Metal Observer 8,5/10

http://www.metal-observer.com/3.o/re...stical-future/


Though no doubt something often looked upon with a certain degree of weariness or even outright scorn, especially in the fickle world of black metal, there comes a time when most bands—at least those that take their craft seriously—will release what could be called their mature album. Bathory did it with Hammerheart, Immortal with Sons of Northern Darkness and Enslaved with Vertebrae. While none of those albums differed radically from their predecessors they undoubtedly evidenced a somewhat calmer, better paced and more self-assured expression on the part of the artist(s) who realised, wisely, that substance should take precedence over style. Wildernessking’s Mystical Future is cut from a similar cloth, revealing a band unafraid to reach for horizons beyond black metal.

Years of tweaking and refining their style have brought the Cape Town-based band to their current musical destination, which is perhaps best summed up as a wholly enjoyable mix of Tombs, Enslaved and Alcest. Waves of gritty reverb-drenched riffs invoke pure blackness one moment and gentle romanticism infused with just the right amount of urban claustrophobia the next, all topped off by the progressive undercurrent of Norway’s finest. I mentioned pacing earlier, and this is perhaps the lynchpin of the album—whereas their debut (2012’s The Writing of Gods in the Sand) had a somewhat disjointed and overtly angst-filled character, Mystical Future is paced much better with the band only baring teeth in sporadic, cleverly calculated bursts of vitriol. “White Horses” is a prime example of this, it’s slow, almost jam-like, quality allowing the band to increase the riff count incrementally and really flesh out the forlorn atmosphere they’re chasing. A similar approach is utilised on the epic “If You Leave,” where the gradual drift-and-build motif is worked to perfection and serene female vocals mesh beautifully with frontman’s Keenan Oakes’ raspy wails. The slow-brewing nature of these songs also highlight how awesome the production job is, as the warm crunch of the guitars and the organic thud of the drums imbue the whole thing with a voluminous yet intimate atmosphere that’ll easily fill a room.

While the mood is somewhat pensive for the most part (especially on “To Transcend,” which is almost a bit too ‘airy’ for its own good), songs like “I Will Go To Your Tomb” and “With Arms Like Wands” see the band juxtaposing light and dark in a more pronounced way, with the former’s mixture of gentle harmonies and a more rhythmic tempo impressing yours truly to a great extent. The fire-breathing aggression of the latter is nothing to scoff at, either! It’s not a reinvention of the wheel but it’s consistently enjoyable and convincing, and the human element is never lost in the din. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Wildernerssking remain one of South Africa’s best kept secrets and are highly recommended for those partial to the forward-thinking exploits of Enslaved, Tombs, Wolvhammer and Vhöl.

Neil Pretorius
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Vieux 12/11/2015, 18h00   #2
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No Clean Singing

http://www.nocleansinging.com/2015/1...stical-future/



(Andy Synn reviews the new album by South Africa’s Wildernessking.)

South Africa’s Wildernessking are a band we’ve been following closely here at NCS ever since we discovered them way back in the hallowed year two thousand and twelve, monitoring their steady growth and development with the ever-watchful eye of a proud father (or, at least, a creepy uncle).

From their humble beginnings (though I still contend that The Writing of Gods in the Sand is one of the finest debut albums I’ve heard in the last ten years or so) the quartet have demonstrated a frankly fearless and irresistible urge to progress, continually expanding their creative palette, whilst also showcasing an impressive ability to write songs that are as effortlessly memorable as they are cleverly unpredictable.

And although there will be those who refer to Mystical Future (the band’s second full-length following a series of intriguing, invigorating EPs and split-releases) as a “Post Black Metal” album – with all the associated baggage and braggadocio that entails – the idea of attributing this term to the band seems, to me at least, to be less about them adhering to the vague tenets of this still somewhat ill-defined sub-genre, and more of an acknowledgement that the band are entering a new phase of existence… their “Post” Black Metal years, if you will.

Of course that in itself doesn’t paint an entirely accurate picture, as I can think of a number of bands (some obvious, some less so) whose “Post” Black Metal period has certainly taken them further from the sounds of their youth than Wildernessking have ventured, so far at least. After all, it’s not as if the Cape Town quartet (whose line-up still remains unchanged since their debut) have fully abandoned their roots, as you’ll find the same frenzied sandstorms of blast-beats and the same cracked and caustic shrieks scattered throughout the length and breadth of Mystical Future as you would have found on any of their previous releases – yet it’s also impossible to deny that the balance, the focus, and the dynamic, of the band’s sound have irrevocably and inevitably changed as the years have passed.

It’s a simple matter really. As the band have grown and progressed, so has their creative palette developed — slowly, surely, naturally – and so has the dynamic of their sound shifted to make room for this creative growth. As a result, it’s clear that there’s just so much more on offer here – so much atmosphere and melancholy grandeur, so much melody and introspection, so many different, clever touches and hints of outside influences – that the band have simply expanded beyond the confines of what the purists would truly consider “Black Metal”… and have done so without any regard for what’s hip, or cool, or “true”, in the eyes of others.

This shouldn’t be entirely unexpected though, and perhaps it’s an effect of the group’s relative isolation (South Africa not being exactly known for its grim and frostbitten Black Metal scene), because the Wildernessking sound has always struck my ears as one that’s very much unique. Even during their most aggressive moments (of which there are more than I can count), there’s always been an undercurrent of dreamy mysticism and a sense of wide-eyed wonder at the glory, and savagery, of nature which served to set them apart from even their closest (figuratively speaking) peers.

This sense of distance – both physical and spiritual — is only enhanced upon listening to Mystical Future. From the moment that the solemn nomadic procession of “White Horses” begins its wandering journey, coloured by luminous layers of haunting melody and powered by a raw and restless energy which drives every thrumming riff and sombre, soaring harmony ever forwards, ever onwards, to the final climactic chords of epic, proggy closer “If You Leave” – all thirteen minutes of glimmering, gloomy beauty and barely restrained, elemental metallic fury – this is an album that ebbs and flows to its own rhythm and rhyme, rising and falling, heaving and swaying like a sapling in the storm, bending but never breaking, rooted firmly in the soil which gives it life and nourishment, yet reaching ever upwards towards the sky above it.

I apologise if all that’s a little too flowery for some. It’s just that this album brings out the poet in me. It inspires and it invigorates and energises me every time I listen to it. Which is exactly what good Black Metal – “Post” or otherwise – is supposed to do.

Of course between these two tracks you’ll surely find enough moments of galloping fury and majestic melody to satiate even the most jaded of listeners, such as during the thrilling “I Will Go To Your Tomb”, where the riffs rage and writhe and rumble, while the vocals howl their harrowing tale of pain and loss with glorious abandon, all sewn together by a drumming performance (courtesy of enviably talented sticksman Jason Jardim) that prioritises nuance and creativity over pure extremity.

That’s not to say the band have gone soft, however (though the sparse, twilight ambience of “To Transcend” is both the softest, and most evocative, thing they’ve ever written), as there’s more than enough blackened rage and fury on display throughout the album to put a lie to that idea, particularly during the raging intensity of “With Arms Like Wands”, which marries a ferocious opening torrent of seething anguish and desperation to a truly gorgeous and enthralling mid-section of introspective instrumental artistry and passionate, electrifying energy, before building to a fantastically multi-layered and multi-faceted finale.

Perhaps more than any other I’ve heard this year, Mystical Future is an album designed to be explored and experienced as a journey, one that will remain as captivating and surprising on each listen as it was the very first time you encountered it. It’s an album that’s enchanting and fascinating throughout, uplifting and energising the listener whilst always challenging them to look a little further, to look a little closer, to look beyond their expectations and initial impressions, and to delve ever deeper into the music and into themselves.

It’s a true work of art, make no mistake. And one that deserves to be heard.

Mystical Future will be released on vinyl by Sick Man Getting Sick Records, on cassette by Grimoire Cassette Cvlture (U.S.) and Monotonstudio Records (Europe)S and on CD by Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions.
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Vieux 15/12/2015, 13h00   #3
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Two guys metal reviews

http://www.twoguysmetalreviews.com/2...al-future.html
I've always been very impressed by Wildernessking. This is a band who understand the fundamental nature of black metal and trudge forward with a punishing attack. That being said, Wildernessking remain one of the smartest bands in black metal, this new record Mystical Future takes all of the potency of The Writing Of Gods In The Sand to a new level, creating some of the most intellectual and fascinating black metal that I have heard in a good long while. Resonant and exciting - this is what the genre should be about.

The searing magic of Wildernessking is such that it invokes the gods of old and carries us through mystical soundscapes. There is a very real poetry to the music on Mystical Future that manifests itself in the soaring acoustic moments on a track like To Transcend. Of course ,this is wonderfully contradicted by moments of blazing guitars and non stop blast beats. These beautiful contradictions and open ended sound poems seem to conjure up profound images and have an almost atavistic bent. Despite the densely packed notes there is a real sense of openness to the sound here that makes it easy to dig into Mystical Future and find the magic within.

The balance of dark and light on Mystical Future transcends words and hints at even greater things to come for these South Africans. With a profound sense of melody and a wonderful understanding of where metal is these days Wildernessking have managed to put together an album that takes you on a veritable journey. Few other black metal bands out there right now have the same understanding of songwriting that Wildernessking do and almost none have the same potential. I get the impression that this is a band who, once they break out of South Africa will be able to take the world by storm.

Find the on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/Wildernessking/?fref=ts
Posted by Matt Bacon
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Vieux 26/01/2016, 19h15   #4
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Metal1.info
http://www.metal1.info/metal-reviews/wildernessking/

"
CD-Review: Wildernessking - Mystical Future

Veröffentlichung: 2016
Label: Les Acteurs De L'Ombre
Spielart: Black Metal


WILDERNESSKING schaffen es bereits vor dem Erklingen eines ersten Tones ihres aktuellen Albums den Hörer neugierig zu machen. Etwas, was nicht vielen Bands gelingt, und den jungen Männern einen Platz in der Erinnerung des Hörers sichert, denn: WILDERNESSKING sehen aus wie aus dem Post Rock stammend, machen aber Black Metal. Ihr Logo lässt daran keinen Zweifel, schließlich stammt es aus der Feder von Steve Wilson, der bereits das Layout für Ævangelist gestaltete. Und zu guter Letzt, WILDERNESSKING stammen nicht aus Norwegen oder Schweden, sondern aus Kapstadt, Südafrika.

Wenn es dem Quartett nun noch gelingt, mit ihrem Hauptaugenmerk, der Musik, so zu überraschen wie mit ihrem Charakteristikum, dürfte ihr zweiter Langspieler “Mystical Future” zum ersten kleinen Highlight des neuen Jahres werden; wenn dem so ist, sollte die Platte schleunigst erworben werden, denn WILDERNESSKING bringen die Platte lediglich als eine auf 500 Kopien begrenzte 12″ Vinyl auf den Markt.

Für Fans der US-Amerikaner von Wolves In The Throne Room sollten WILDERNESSKING seit ihrem Debüt “The Writing Of Gods In The Sand” (2012) ein Begriff sein, wenn dem nicht so ist, sollten sie es mit “Mystical Future” werden. Ungeahnt stark an die Brüder Weaver angelehnt, aber dennoch eigen im Musizieren, zeigen die Südafrikaner ihr Potenzial. Deutlich im Post Black Metal zu verorten, spielen WILDERNESSKING vielerlei Facetten zwischen epischen, ausufernden Gitarrenläufen und Double-Bass-lastigen, treibenden Stellen. Im Gegensatz dazu steht ein Song wie “To Transcend”, der als sechsminütiges Instrumental die Stimmung einfängt, die das schlichte, aber zum Träumen einladende Cover von “Mystical Future” heraufbeschwört.

Auf der B-Side finden sich zwei der insgesamt sechs Tracks, die ihr Ende in dem 13-minütigen Giganten “If You Leave” finden, der in ein furioses Finale mündet. Zu Anfang unterstützt von weiblichem Klargesang, führen WILDERNESSKING hier nochmal deutlich vor, weswegen ein Vergleich mit Wolves In The Throne Room, aber auch Fen, nicht übertrieben, sondern absolut passend ist. Keine Minute, kein Riff und kein Schlag der Sticks wirken deplatziert oder mehrfach wiederholt, viel zu stimmig ist die einnehmende Atmosphäre von “Mystical Future”. Somit katapultiert das französische Label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions ein top Album einer vielversprechenden Band auf den Markt und versüßt mir den Start in das Musikjahr 2016!"
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Vieux 02/02/2016, 12h50   #5
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Akerblogger

http://akerblogger.blogspot.co.uk/20...rnessking.html

Mystical Melancholy: Wildernessking - Mystical Future (2016)
Wildernessking - Mystical Future

Bandcamp: http://wildernessking.bandcamp.com/a...ystical-future
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wildernessking
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvN...yQ2AjlG3Zevd1g

" Spectral figures emerge from the sea, waves as white horses, reaching forests thick with memory; to the top of mountains where voices echo from the past, where the black oceans sit in the distance - a swallowing void; from the mountains down to the rivers where voices sing and an ethereal air clashes with the cold unruliness of its flow, a river that drowns sanity and consumes dreams, a nature unforgiving to man. Mystical Future is not your typical frost-bitten corpse-ridden barren black-metal snore-fest, instead it carries a personal struggle and a vulnerability cloaked in mystical longing and human suffering. Mystical Future is an honest and powerful album and it is in Wildernessking's ability to fuse explosive energy and aggression with somber meditations and sadness that is this albums greatest achievement.

Mystical Future has the hazy warmth of Lantlos' Melting Sun and the sweeping, vast melodic soundscapes of Panopticon and Fall of Rauros. There is an extreme-metal core here that is layered with influences from the vast musical spectrum - post-rock, shoe-gaze, ambient, progressive - but Mystical Future feeds off the dissonance and abrasiveness of black-metal and dwells in the vast cosmic realms of atmospheric black-metal. It maybe lacks a misanthropy inherent in your typical black metal as the band come across as more human and less cold: they're not consumed by the flaming inferno of self-hatred and misanthropy that so many conventional bands hold close. Wildernessking are more concerned with human issues: personal loss, self-reflection, longing, and existential fears.

Atmosphere and feeling smokes from every corner of Mystical Future. The guitars melt in to one another and reverberate throughout, the drums crash with a tenderness and the vocals, high-pitched and floating like fog, permeate through the drifting tenderness and abrasive anger to great effect. There is a beautiful solo in the opening track that cuts through the music with a twinkling poignancy counterbalanced by the piercing cries of vocalist and bassist Keenan Oates. The bass sings throughout the record carrying, like veins, the energy and life-force of much of the album. The drumming throughout the record is also powerful - the snares are quite audible, but it's a pleasant sound - particularly towards the end of the final song, 'If You Leave', where they gallop in to the mystical future with textured force.

Wildernessking - Photo

There are well thought out riffs and transitions throughout; 'I Will Go To Your Tomb' opens with intense double-bass drumming, melodic tremolo riffing, sharp screams and layered leads before clawing to a steadier rhythm as a darker atmosphere siphons its way in to the song from the stars. The song picks up again as drums hasten and vocals become more maniacal, guttural and evil. The song progressions are captivating, layers and elements are added and taken away to great effect, it's not just a wall of sound, everything seems carefully plotted and positioned.

'To Transcend' is a reflective and poignant instrumental track that attempts to solidify the atmosphere Wildernessking are trying to create. It's not too long, it's interesting enough in that it's not purely ambient: bass, drums and vocals faintly waltz in a dirge-like pattern, leading up to 'With Arms Like Wands', another intense and cavernous eight-minute journey. The black-metal side of things picks up here with incessant dissonance grating from the get-go, before slowing down with the leads harmonising together. I really love the leads in this album, I get a real Fall of Rauros vibe from them and that's a really great thing.



'If You Leave' opens cautiously, it's the last track and at 13-minutes something vast is expected. Atmosphere drips from every corner as female clean vocals - in the same vein as Chelsea Wolfe - fade in and ring atop of floating reverb-drenched guitars. The gruff hush of vocals intercedes and the song builds layer upon layer, bitter melancholy on top of bitter melancholy, toppling as the bass drumming intensifies. It does feel that, after being stripped bare, with nothing left to give, the album fades into the setting sun, sizzling off mountainsides, steam rising, glistening into the night. It's a satisfying closure to a powerful album.

I knew that I'd like this album based off the tracks I had heard a few weeks prior and I haven't been disappointed. This album has everything I like in atmospheric black-metal: it's not overly reliant on external sounds to create atmosphere, instrumentation is used with a particularity and a diversity that is so much more powerful than the sound of birds chirping or flat violins played from a keyboard. It's top-of-the-range atmospheric black-metal from the most unlikely of places (Cape Town, South Africa) and I'm sure Wildernessking will continue to create powerful music like this for a long time to come. "

Rating: 8.75/10
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Vieux 02/02/2016, 13h10   #6
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Lord of Plagues

Wildernessking - Mystical Future Album Review
Vidéo : https://youtu.be/HdVWLGj2hIk
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Vieux 05/02/2016, 17h08   #7
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Bleeding4Metal 9/10

http://www.bleeding4metal.de/?show=review_de&id=7542


Vier Jahre haben sich WILDERNESSKING mit "Mystical Future" als Nachfolger ihres Debüts Zeit gelassen. Man schrieb das Jahr 2012 als "The Writing Of Gods In The Sand" erschien und ordentlich Beifall bekommen hat. Untätig waren die Jungs zwischen den beiden Langspielern freilich nicht, haben sie doch in den vier Jahren je zwei EPs und Splits aufgenommen.

Keenan Nathan Oakes (Vocals, Bass), Dylan Viljoen (Guitars), Jesse Navarre Vos (Guitars) und Jason Jardim (Drums) präsentieren ihren progressiv angehauchten Post Black Metal, im Vergleich zu den Vorgängerveröffentlichungen, weniger harsch und auch mit zurückgenommenen vertrackten Melodien. Auf "Mystical Future" rücken sie übergroße Atmosphäre in den Brennpunkt, die üppig mit epischen Melodien ausgestattet ist. So verschmelzen gefühlsstarker Post Metal ('To Transcend') und sich schwarmartig ausbreitende Gitarrenkraft, Blasts und verträumte Melodien, in denen meist Schwermut mitschwingt, wenn sich WILDERNESSKING durch mächtige Klanglandschaften voller Emotionen bewegen, in deren Zentrum ein völlig aus sich herausgehender, am Limit kreischender, Keenan Nathan Oakes steht. Sich durch die Songs tragen zu lassen ist ein nahezu rauschhaftes Erlebnis, das mit jedem Durchgang stärkere Anziehungskraft entwickelt. Mein Favorit ist das dramatische 'If You Leave', das mit sanftem Frauengesang und weich wehenden Weisen beginnt, sich zunehmend in rasende Verzweiflung steigert und aufregendes Gefühlskino par excellence bietet, das dank der transparenten Produktion im perfekten Rahmen glänzt.

Zu haben ist "Mystical Future" ab dem 29. Januar auf Vinyl und der Sammler hat die Wahl zwischen je hundert blau-weiß marmorierten und weißen oder dreihundert schwarzen Scheiben. Die mit anderem Artwork ausgestattete CD bringt das französische Label Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions am 26. Februar als Digipack heraus. Freunde von Tape-Versionen werden bei Monotonstudio Records und Grimoire Cassette Cvlture fündig.


Fazit: Für mich ist "Mystical Future" das bisher ausdrucksstärkste Album der Südafrikaner. Fesselnd von A bis Z und für Freunde des Post Black Metal unumgänglich.
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Vieux 09/02/2016, 17h11   #8
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Angry metal guy
http://www.angrymetalguy.com/wildern...future-review/

Wildernessking – Mystical Future [Vinyl Review]
By Angry Metal Guy
In 2016, Black Metal, Reviews, South African Metal, Vinyl Review

" South Africa’s Wildernessking is an atmospheric black metal band that has undergone a maturation before our very eyes. Starting as Heathens the band played an immediate (and still excellent) form of black n’ roll. The early material was reminiscent of Enslaved, but lacked the Norwegians’ progressive punch. The writing was concise and riffy, and the word “atmospheric” would never have crossed my keyboard in those days—until the release of the track “Morning” in 2011. In 2012, under the new moniker Wildernessking, these South African ex-heathens released The Writing of Gods in the Sand, which unfurled their sound into more expansive territory. The record had a production that helped the band’s music to balance between a raw, heavy black metal feel and their growing interest for more airy writing. 2016’s Mystical Future progresses Wildernessking‘s journey, taking steps further away from the intensity and riff-driven black metal of their youth, for a more thoughtful, ponderous sound.

Mystical Future shows that there is very little of Heathens left in these black metallers. While The Writing of Gods in the Sand was still quite aggressive at times, Mystical Future is written like a slow burn. A lot of this has to do with how the album is produced; a wet production that sounds like the band was recorded live using four standing mics in a cathedral. The sound is cavernous—Jason Jardim’s drums being the most obviously demonstrative of this—but as with all mixes this wet, the attack of the drums and guitars slow down. This means that even when the band reaches peak, the sound is never quite the raw, aggressive sound of more vicious black metal. Even Keenan’s vocals are mixed extremely far back, sounding almost as though he was rasping his lyrics without a microphone—the sound saved only by the overheads.

This cavernous sound lends to a stormy feel when the band does pick up speed, however. Rather than bruising intensity, the heavy material crashes over the listener like waves. Wildernessking deftly builds songs which reach epic, heart-wrenching crescendos—recalling Anathema‘s later material. Closer “If You Leave,” which features soft female vocals, finishes the album out perfectly with an epic, fragile build. “With Arms Like Wands” features a varied blast which glues the different pieces together into something heavy and intense; pummeling down like sheets of rain. While “If You Leave” features a long introduction that feels like the first minutes of Moonsorrow‘s Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa, the build in the middle pulses with an intensity that makes poppy, sadboy melodies of the outro ache. “I Will Go to Your Tomb” even starts off with a riff that reminds me of Heathens—or Enslaved—before tempering its pace a bit.

Wildernessking 2016 by Eckardt Kasselman

Still, Mystical Future shows Wildernessking at its most atmospheric. There are no real burners on here, and the even the more intense moments are tempered by a production which is engineered to take the bite out of the heaviest material. The feel is fantastic, though; at times meditative, at times fragile, and at times like little earthquakes rolling over you—especially when Keenan’s bass and Jason’s drums work together. “To Transcend” closes out Side A with a delicate instrumental piece, melancholy and beautiful, placing the band a lot closer to Alcest than Enslaved.

The LP mix and the digital mix sound similar, though the digital mix is more compressed. The vinyl mix clocks in at a DR 8, which I still think is a bit high, but it sounds quite good. The fact that a band with a sound as airy and open as this would have a loud master strikes me as weird, however. The charm of Mystical Future is in the sepulchral resonance of the mix. So much of the atmosphere is carried on the backs of this production—owing a heavy nod to “Cascadian” black metal’s ham-handed plundering of Norway—and particularly the sound of the drums stands out here. The whole feel is luscious, and the mix and the tone of the production works perfectly.

Mystical Future is an excellent addition to the Wildernessking catalogue. It’s different enough from The Writing of Gods in the Sand that it’s almost difficult to compare the two. Ironically, the band took the things that I thought were the weakest about their first full-length and doubled-down on them. But rather than putting out an album that crumbles under the weight of overlong songs and repetitive riffs, they crafted something with the deft touch of a Moonsorrow or October Falls—bands whose ability to navigate the eddies of their songs makes even their 13-minute compositions gripping. Mystical Future lands somewhere between ethereal and crushing, and that seems to be exactly where Wildernessking wants to be. "

Rating: 4.0/5.0
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Vieux 10/02/2016, 11h54   #9
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Echoes and dust
http://echoesanddust.com/2016/01/wil...stical-future/

Wildernessking – Mystical Future
By: Patrick Thompson

"Wildernessking
Released on January 29, 2016 via Sick Man Getting Sick Records

2015 was a year that gave my ears many great memorable albums to listen to. Thank goodness, the first album that blasted out of my headphones in 2016 keeps the momentum going strong. Wildernessking is a Cape Town, South African black metal band, and their second full-length album is soon to be released on Sick Man Getting Sick Records. Formed in 2011, the band consists of Dylan Viljoen (guitar), Jason Jardim (drums), Jesse Navarre Vos (guitar) and Keenan Nathan Oakes (bass, vocals).

Now I must admit, I didn’t grow up listening to black metal as a kid. It just wasn’t available in my small hometown of Portland, Michigan. Even when I went to buy my music at the record store at the mall, I couldn’t find any black metal bands. But I would look through all the metal magazines at the book store and see all of the bands that wore corpse paint and I would read about the Norwegian church burnings, satanic themes and the stories of murder and suicide. I did eventually move out of Portland and was able to discover black metal. Along the way I discovered my favorite style of black metal, atmospheric black metal. When I did listen to Mystical Future, it took me back to living out in the country at my parents’ house were it can be so peaceful and at times dangerous.

The slower tempo controlled guitar riffs by Viljoen and Vos on the first track, ‘White Horse’, remind me of trudging through the deep snowy woods of Michigan. All seems peaceful until Oakes’s shrieking vocals hits you like old man winter, a chill that runs down your spine. Midway through song, the tempo picks up and the peaceful walk turns into a swirling snow storm in which you realize you have to turn back and seek cover right away.

In ‘I Will Go To Your Tomb’, the pace picks up with powerful galloping guitar riffs along with Jardim’s double bass drum and crashing cymbals. Midway through, there is a transition to folk metal and spacey guitar riffs and the finale features Jardim ratcheting up the pace on his double bass. The vision I had in my mind’s eye was of a bird of prey flying through the forest, hunting for his next meal.

We come to my favorite song on the album. ‘To Transcend’ is an atmospheric, instrumental track done perfectly. I loved sitting in my chair with my headphones on and my eyes closed, letting this beautiful track wash over me. From Oakes’s heavy bass lines to Jardim’s soothing long cymbal crashes to the ever so haunting wind-like vocals in the background and finally the tranquil riffs that drive the song, I could listen to this song 100 times in a row and not tire of it.

After the tranquil experience of the last track, ‘With Arms like Wands’ will definitely wake you up with scorching guitar riffs. Oakes’s vocals first remind you of high-pitched fingernails that slowly go down a chalkboard and then over the course of the track transitions to a hideous creature screaming from a deep dark sewer.

The last track, ‘If You Leave’, is a 13 minute journey in which the band shows it skill at easily manipulating your emotions. I fell in love with the clashing of the serene female vocals at the beginning and the turbulent vocals later on. The same can be said about the instrumentals, which reminded me of a slowly building rain storm. Harmless and enjoyable when the light rain pitter-patters on the windows, scary and fearful when the storm reaches a destructive pitch and the high winds tear off roof shingles.

Overall, although I know it’s only January, Wildernessking has set the bar very high for any other black atmospheric albums I will listen to for the rest of this year. I want to thank Wildernessking for an unforgettable album and for starting 2016 with a big smile on my face. "
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Wildernessking - Mystical Future - 1
Written by Ulla Roschat

" Disguised as the second full length atmospheric black metal album of South African four piece band Wildernessking, “Mystical Future” is in reality… a dream… a sweet dream, a sad dream, a violent and furious dream, nightmarishly scary and of poetic beauty.

With the opening song "Wild Horses" it sneaks into your sleep. Gradually, almost slowly and cautiously it expands and unfolds itself in your sleeping brain and builds, from what initially feels sort of minimalistic, into rich atmospheres and the song leaves you with a promise of melodic beauty and exciting dynamics.

Already deeply intrigued by this intro, the next song "I Will Go To Your Tomb" starts to grab and tear at your heart and soul. With enthralling furious riffs, harsh aggressive vocals and a breathtakingly propelling drumming it unleashes a whirlwind of raging moods juxtaposed to the gloomy fabric of the melodies, yet complementing them ever so wonderfully.

And as if the dream wants to avoid the risk of waking you up by its unsettling dynamics, it wants to be dreamt to its end after all, the next song "To Transcend" is a contemplative break bringing back the minimalistic feel from the beginning. But make no mistake, the song has its own kind of intensity bringing a slightly eerie ethereal atmosphere to the music, created notably by the softly echoing vocals here.

Wildernessking 2012. Photos by Luke Daniel

The following "With Arms Like Wands" is all furious aggression again, and the combination of a great songwriting and the musician's ability to play off each other perfectly well creates a strong dynamic of build ups and complex sound.

The closing song "If You Leave" takes up the doomy brewing mood of the first song and female vocals are introduced here. They beautifully mingle with and complement the vicious male vocals and both lead you into the world between dream and wake.

The perfect balance of black metal violence and melancholic melodies, woven into well and tightly structured songs lets the album find its own flow into an organic cohesion that's totally spellbinding and of a deep emotional impact!

Although Wildernessking is a rather young band, they formed 2011, and their discography is still small (one debut full length album and two EPs ) “Mystical Future” sounds like the mature manifestation of a unique brand. Not only does it show an evolution in their songwriting, their sense of progressive dynamics and ridiculously beautiful and catchy melodies, not only does it show their capability to create unique and captivating atmospheres, this album seems to call out: This is Wildernessking! "
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