Wildernessking – Mystical Future (2016, Sick Man Getting Sick Records)
Cape Town, South Africa isn’t your typical location for a Black metal formation to rise and get a worldwide attention. But just as anything, globalization has brought unexpected things all around the globe and we must be grateful for culture to actually cross borders and stereotypes
Other than that, the artwork which I think is one of the most unconventional since Deafheaven’s own Sunbather artwork reveals that Wildernessking is taking a path of post-rock meets Black metal. I wouldn’t say post-Black metal because it is too reclusive as a standard but the mix they did fells into the category that the listener loves it or hates it. The South Africans, kept a solid boot into the Black metal sound with ‘’I Will Go to Your Tomb’’ but the opening of ‘’To Transcend’’ is a meditative and shoegaze interlude that has nothing to do with Unholy Black Metal.
Mystical Future has a sensibility that evolves slowly from the progressive landscapes of the likes of later Enslaved but with an American approach to the ensemble of the album. Has we reviewed lately the Polish band Stillborn that showcased uncompromising Black Death metal of masterful fist under your chin perfection Wildernessking is the complete opposite of this. Wildernessking is the progress, the gaze of Black metal towards the future and the newer generation of fans and the new way to discover and enjoy the most difficult genre in music to actually like. While Stillborn are looking back with a nostalgia and a deep understanding of the great heritage of its predecessors in the genre. As both are equally talented, one represents the old school sound while the other is the new school being regarded as a bastardized version of the old school by the old schoolers and the founders of the infamous genre.
During the second wave of Black metal, there were many bands that experimented like Burzum, Abigor, and Beherit. As of today, they are still regarded as pioneers and groundbreakers, it would be interesting to see if the new school of Black metal will be able to carry on and take its place amongst the reclusive genre that is Black metal.
Getting back at Mystical Future, this is a complete album that must be regarded as a new standard in the genre and the later’s opening on International input and an enrichment of the genre by a solidification by a mix of origins and new blood for the ceremony to come. This is an album that grows with each subsequent listens and that will surely make its way in my year end list.