W.A.I.L. - Wisdom Through Agony Into Illumination And Lunacy Vol. II

W.A.I.L. - Wisdom Through Agony Into Illumination And Lunacy Vol. II

2 songs
61:39 minutes
***** ***
Triumphant Transgressions


I usually associate long tracks with progressive rock, funeral doom or minimalist drone bands, but occasionally you come across artists that also dabble in epic structures in different genres. W.A.I.L. are a quintet from Western Finland that released its debut album Wisdom Through Agony Into Illumination And Lunacy - which is what the band's abbreviation stand for - in 2009. That record contained five songs, most of which were about ten minutes long. Nine years later they are back with Wisdom Through Agony Into Illumination and Lunacy Vol. II, which although only contains two tracks is one hour long.

The main genres are death, black and doom metal, but there are occasional glimpses into post rock and even classical music. The opener Through Will To Exaltation Whence Descent Into A Bottomless Black Abyss is at nearly twenty-five minutes the albumís shortest track! It is divided into four parts: Exaltation, Will, Descent and the instrumental Abyss. Despite the band being on a small independent label, and the production values not being as glossy as those of more popular black metal bands, we still get a very decent sound that manages to find its own niche between rusty underground noise and more professional standards. Especially the songís last part manages to combine post rock with dark jazz in a really unique and creepy way, giving the first track a mesmerising conclusion. It must be said though that the transitions between the different parts is rather abrupt so that in the end you feel like listening to four distinct six-minute tracks instead of one long epic. Apart from that, itís really satisfying music that uses its ingredients smartly enough so that W.A.I.L. actually come across as a band with its quite own sound.

The second track Reawakening Through Anguish Into Gestalt Of Absolute is nearly thirty-five minutes long and is once again split into four parts: Rewakening, Anguish, the instrumental Gestalt and Absolute. And itís on this piece that the Finns really manage to shine at their brightest. It starts slowly enough, as if an afterthought from the previous track, then turns into a monumental doom death metal track that reminds me of My Dying Bride when they were really grand. Gestalt is a lengthy piano piece which is later joined by a violin, making for a beautiful classical interlude, before the last ten or so minutes are taken over by Absolute, a surprisingly rocking piece with an incredible moving ending.

Wisdom Through Agony Into Illumination and Lunacy Vol. II is released under different formats, also a double vinyl album, and maybe thatís why the breaks are so abrupt, to make it possible to split each long track over two sides of an LP. Everything on this album is really very listenable, but itís some parts Ė the ones I mentioned before Ė that really are out of this world! If W.A.I.L. find the ability to join it all together a little more seamlessly in the future, they might have a really great album ahead of them. This is a band you should keep your ears open for!

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