Wolf Hex is the 2021 release from the Vancouver conquerors that over 10 tracks and 33 minutes is able to smash and grab through the audience’s window and leave without ever being caught in the crossfire.
Opening with an instrumental, “Lunar Maniac” paints an entirely foreboding image of Wormwitch. Hope seems to fall to the wayside as the desperate keys and chimes collide with each other like bells of torment. A sacrament of sin and indulgence flows over the audience, but the pleasure lies with Wormwitch. As the full moon cycles over through the use of atmospheric drops and the eternal flame goes silent, the following track, “Canadian Denim Mountain Attack” breaks loose the bricks of black metal performance.
The feedback from Colby Hink and Kyle Tavares on guitars as well as Robin Harris on bass are able to coincide before Israel Langlais on percussion explodes into frame. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are as destructive as they are orchestrated and crushing. While solos on each instrument are full-metal jacket rounds in a Gatling gun, Harris on vocals calls an attack as a salute to the dark arts.
Describing, “Frozen great white northern might, we roll tonight to the guitar bite…” Continuing on to pass into methods of madness, he describes, “Thunder of the gods and riffs of fire, unholy smoke, and sweet desire. We’ll never learn to be controlled.”
Instrumentally, Wolf Hex has some variety, especially when paired to the track “The Wolves Of Ossory.” The acoustic guitars change the style of delivery and take Wormwitch onto a transitional period where the electric tones are dialed back.
Similar in their performance on “The Crimson Proof” where ambient noises of hounds barking and shrieking, while water rushes underneath, becomes the setting. The dimly lit camp is matched with precision and is seemingly done in a round. As one voice finishes, the others layer and act to become a choir of vocals that disappear into the fog as “Abracadabra” spawns.
Emerging mostly from the seas, Wormwitch jumps the barrier and becomes immersed with the crowd. The line between reality and fiction blurs, making the audience to be fully engrossed by the overwhelming amount of sound coming from Wolf Hex. As statues burst and marble shatters, Wormwitch becomes this eternal sound that transcends time or an era.
While the idea of shadows and harrowing black metal might not be a new concept, Wormwitch is an excellent example of how to do the mix correctly and efficiently. While it does not introduce anything that catches the audience off guard, Wolf Hex is tightly wound with obsidian string in a less than constrictive package.