Black Metal, a genre close to my heart, has metamorphosed continually since its birth in the early nineties in Norway. Initially black metal was a genre concerned with social upheaval, dark currents of anarchistic change and a string of arson's which culminated in a murder or two. Since such times the genre, despite the odds, has grown throughout the world. What once was an infamous sub-genre of heavy metal, only popularized by its faults , spread across the globe, spurring international interpretations of this blackened art. The latest such interpretation comes from an unsuspecting source, this time in the shape of Phil Elverum of Microphones/Mount Eerie.
Wind’s Poem is not a typical trip into a black metal experience. Elverum, clearly a fan of the genre, has taken his own interpretation and committed it to tape. The opening track, the fittingly titled Wind’s Dark Poem would fit well amongst the collection of any black metal collector. The lo-fi growl of blasting guitars, typical of Elverum’s style, is as unrelenting as it is unsettling, contrasted only by Elverum’s soft voice amidst the drone of guitar noise. This theme continues throughout, Elverum’s voice offers stark contrast to the distorted instruments it accompanies.
But is Wind’s Poem a black metal album? No, not in the classical sense anyway. Wind’s Poem, however, is certainly a Microphones/Mount Eerie album, unmistakably so in fact., and is bound to please fans. Whether it will convert black metal fans, on the other hand, is an entirely different question, one which must be answered with a resounding ‘no’. Thematically this is a black metal album, ask any patron of the genre and they will tell you that black metal is inextricably linked to nature and wilderness. Hence an album concerned with forests and wind ticks the boxes, but only in a thematic sense. Musically the same cannot be said, although there are moments of familiarity to the genre it is supposed to be echoing, there are only vast similarities to Elverum’s previous work, even the track, Between Two Mysteries, is a take on Twin Peak’s, leaving Elverum well beyond the realms of the darkened woods of Norway’s Fjords.
Wind's Poem, is not a bad album, not at all, it is though a misleading one. I, who am not a particularly great fan of Elverum’s past work, was led to this album by a friend who is a staunch supporter of Mount Eerie and Microphones. Knowing my unending affection for black metal he pointed me this way, and although I feel as though I may have found a nice [sort of] neo-folk album for my collection, I certainly feel I have not found a black metal one.
Review by Patrick Fennelly