A journey into the heart of darkness. An apt title for all that Wormlust convey. H.V. Lyngdal’s latest, The Feral Wisdom, is his most unsettling release to date. By now, followers of European and Icelandic black metal should be well acquainted with the man’s unique ability to meld the hallucinatory with the insane. Album opener, Sex augu, tólf stjörnur, marries an appreciation for unbridled intensity and razor-sharp black metal with drugged and staggering ambient. It’s the only clear cut point on the album where you can distinguish the two genres as unique entities. The further down the rabbit hole you travel, the murkier the barriers become.
The Feral Wisdom turns the recent regressive, reptile brain obsession of extreme metal on its head. What’s truly unnerving about the decent herein is the lack of mental acuity. Moments of possession reveal an unrestrained attack unrecognized by the waking mind. All the anger, fear and psychedelia occur on a subconscious level. And while there are definitely moments lifted from the textbooks of Wrest (the nauseating ambience of A Necessary Mutilation) and Deathspell Omega’s recent foray into controlled chaos, H.V. Lyngdal’s marriage of the two themes is what makes The Feral Wisdom such a resounding success.
There is a sincerity of voice to this strain of psychedelic black metal. For all the hushed voices, hidden keys, expanses of space and reversed melodies of The Feral Wisdom, the unity of composition is baffling. To drag the listener through unease and discomfort, deliver the occasional relapse into peace and tie these two together with passages of hypnotic, pulsating rhythms in less than forty minutes is a journey unto itself. Closing track, Iður úti, will leave you with peyote seed encrusted vomit on your chin. Prepare to breach the cosmic horizon of space and self, The Feral Wisdom is a cracking piece of Icelandic art. Available from Demonhood Productions and digitally through Bandcamp.