Know the way a knee in the balls or a smack in the jaw can be refreshing? How it can reinvigorate your senses and awake you from your stupor? That’s how I feel about Welter In Thy Blood’s third full-length, ‘Todestrieb’ … an ugly, relentless, merciless, tortuous and unapologetically weighty journey that will crush your hopes, demoralise you, and leave you feeling alive.
This not-to-be-pigeonholed three-piece hails from sunny Los Angeles but do not let that influence your perception: they possess a most un-sunny (dis)position. Ploughing their own furrow, charting their own path, irrespective of trends and the natural gravitation of sheep / lemmings, WITB merge Black Metal, drone, noise, field recordings and experimental sounds into a horrific, tortured and deeply personal brew of hatred and despondency.
The lesson I learned from listening to this five-track CD – and from corresponding with the band – is that when you are alone in a crowd then you are every bit as isolated from humanity as, say, a hermit living in the darkest, most secluded crevices of civilisation. A mental outpost presents at least the same solitude as physically dwelling within the harsh, cold terrain of Northern Europe.
Though hardly executed at breakneck pace, ‘Todestrieb’ is a challenging listen, an album that is clearly not intended for society’s lowest-common-denominator denizens. Innovative, uncompromising, traumatic and mesmerising in equal doses, this 45-minute aural nightmare (think a more-fucked-up, dragged-out and deranged Blut Aus Nord and you might be somewhere close) constitutes a welcome antidote to … everything. Extreme music by extreme people for extreme people.