Dark ambient is a very wide catch-all term of phrase that can cover a multitude of sounds and Paleowolf’s new album “Archetypal” fits into that genre with ease, but the term doesn’t quite describe the guttural base noise that the band create.
Paleowolf’s signature sound is a mixture of tribal drums, industrial steelworks drones and deep throaty ohm vocals that merge between voice and brass. There’s so little room for breath – it’s as tense and taut as music comes and often without specific melody or chord patterns. This is about creating rhythmic beats and tones that pump you up and rage a fire within. “Thundertribe” the perfect example of this after a few more broodier ambient opening pieces. It’s huge percussive smashes vibrate around your ears whilst a deep male shamanic drone creates a drone underneath it. Animal noises and brass toots fleetingly merge in and out but the entire piece is an attack on the sense. “Mooncall” on the complete opposite end takes the shamanic chant and places it in an echoey cave with ambient wooden creaks and cracks. Its cinematic ambience is curious because on one level it is quite calming but it’s really quite creepy and unnerving too. “Feral Spirit” which was the promotional track for the album merges both worlds together as you wander through the forests and caves of ancient times, whilst “Warrior” feels like a Dwarven steel factory workers song with the machines smashing their way through the song itself. “Nightfire” takes the ambience of flames and places it against minimal synths to give a rare moment of calm in an album that is intent in scavenging for the very base of your being. The closing two tracks are the most expressive and perhaps melodic. “Wolf-Shaman” adds in some electronica tribal elements to the throat singing and vocal drones to create a maddening fury of beats speeding along at what must be over 200bpm. That explosive track paves the way for the melodic post-apocalyptic “Humani Generis” where vocal patterns and woodwind synths rotate around a skipping beat.
There are few artists quite like Paleowolf in terms of their narrow scope and delivery. “Archetype” is not an album that I will need to have on repeat constantly because it takes you to somewhere that’s so primal it would lessen your senses. Instead, Paleowolf has created an album for me that I will return back to when I feel like I need some kind of simple purging or a mantra to tune into for focus, as this is as centring and invigorating in a more primal way whereas mew age music envigorates as a relaxant.
Recommended track: Thundertribe
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