Wrekmeister Harmonies - Night Of Your Ascension - (8.5/10)
Published on October 20, 2015
Genre:Post Metal / Drone / Doom
Wrekmeister Harmonies, the project from Chicagoan composer JR Robinson, has made quite a name for itself utilizing various musicians and styles to create something quite fascinating and in many ways beautiful. After three prior releases, Robinson is back with his newest opus, Night of Your Ascension on Thrill Jockey. Including 30 musicians, from metal and non-metal acts alike, this two track album runs the gamut of emotions, and pummels while also lifting you up high into the clouds.
Starting off with the longer of the two tracks, the 30-plus minute titular track begins with a quite airy and beautiful section. Complete with real strings, angelic choir voices and (after a couple of minutes) a slower droning low-end, the song builds a quite breathtaking opening half. Where the voices vanish and the strings play a more prominent role, so does the darker underlying tone of the track. The other instruments come in and feel like you’re being dragged down in a sense from the angelic heaven you were in prior. The droning aspects continue on, with a few changes here and there, strong coming in and out or taking more off a lead role in the track. The pacing of the song itself is played out wonderfully as the beauty of the strings leads into a dark and suffocating last half. Featuring some heavier guitars and electronics, the sound on the track progresses naturally from the lighter side, but feature a perfect counter to what we had just heard for about 15 minutes. The song continues to plod along, being more along the lines of doom or drone song with plenty of little noises and electronics in the background to add extra layers. Near the end the track reaches its climax, with male vocals coming in its as the songs gets faster all leading to screamed vocals in the last few minutes. By the end of the 30-plus run-time, you can feel emotionally drained but in the best way. You have already run through the spectrum of emotions and feel the darkness and the light within you.
The second track is admittedly the same idea but on a smaller scale. In half the length, the final track manages to continue in all the same emotions and has the same wonderful sense of build and progress. The last track does feature more noise, and a more dark tone throughout, skipping the more angelic intro but never loses the listener in its intent. The noise builds a good sense of being uncomfortable along side the choir like vocals, as you have two emotions mixing and clashing internally. The track again gets heavier as it goes along and leads to a great climax with screamed vocals that help to accentuate the passion in the music.
Night Of Your Ascension is quite mesmerizing in its approach. With such a large cast of characters, and every little style being explored (even within the blanket of a post-metal/drone record) this could have been a major misstep. However, these two tracks are paced exactly as they need to be, and they feature some very emotive performances. The title rings true as the noise and heavier sections make the “night” come through clearly, but the angelic parts as well as the overall feeling when the record is over leaves you feeling as if you’ve ascended. Emotionally draining but also enveloping and cathartic, Wrekmeister Harmonies have created something that needs to be heard.