I’ve still not come across an artist that does anything quite like Paleowolf. Mixing together drones, thunderous drums, groans, throat singing and cave atmospherics into something like a ritual – it is genuinely unnerving and engrossing at the same time. Usually, their albums are split into various tracks but ‘Paleoshaman’ is a single song. At 86 minutes long, you are getting an entire feature-length performance. That does make it tricky to break down the album though.
The album is about Animism – the idea that nature is alive and conscious. This manifests in the album an awakening from the cave clangs and echoes into something more percussive and human. Moving from bat wing flutters and drips of distant water, the mystical air of the album takes hold early on. Slowly over time discordant wind instruments and drums seep for its cathartic final third. Things gather pace, human grunts and chants march in and twist into an eerie monk ohm. The sense that the world around you is waking up and swaying to a force is palpable. That whole transition takes place over the entire piece and whilst there are mini peaks and troughs throughout, it is the coming together of different pieces that make the ending of it worth the wait. If you aren’t a fan of experimental dark ambient though, you’ll be lost early on as all the different elements are forming and taking centre stage for a while.
I feel like ‘Paleoshaman’ may be best placed for fans to have as a welcome gift but not as the best place for newcomers to start. The other interesting thing I’m finding with Paleowolf is that it is a very specific drone sound they put together and there is a lot of crossover per album. Once you have one Paleowolf album and like it, you’ll probably enjoy all the others. Just don’t expect huge variations between the intense delivery. Still, if you are the only one bringing this kind of primordial ooze drone music to the world, why change?
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