White Ward continue to push musical boundaries, exceed expectations, and provide powerful music for the 21st century. This will unequivocally go down as one of the best albums of the decade.
For the uninitiated, White Ward combine extreme black metal and noir jazz (i.e. sax and piano) to create an extremely bleak but refreshing sound. Now, I am not a BM fan at all and have criticized many albums from the genre for sounding like they were made in a toaster oven. However, White Ward provide satisfactory production quality (a rarity in the genre) in addition to their persistent innovation to explore intricate ideas.
I personally like the interview statement from the band regarding this album art: “The idea behind the cover artwork is symbolic metaphor. The main character of the album is searching for a better life and believes he can find it outside the big city. But after his journey, he realizes that something like a better place does not exist. Instead of a cozy hut he found a ruined, half-rotten house.“ The imagery is simple, effective, and smart; it comes across as a deep album and one with a lot of intrigue. The false light we see helps improve our perception of the world, but peeling back the curtain reveals dark truths about our world and society. The band fulfills these ideas through 8 powerful tracks that create a true sense of dread by providing moments of levity only for them to be decimated in subtle, surprising ways.
This album stretches over an hour long but only feels like it when you watch the time. There's a lot in here to work with but nothing is rushed and everything truly feels intentional to the larger picture. The jazz sections are woven interchangeably with the harsh vocals in dynamic exchanges that I haven't heard before. The rest of the band fills out very well, with plenty of surprises in store, including ambient electronic sections, clean vocal passages, spoken word passages, and riffs aplenty.
Do not miss this. This album is likely to be one of the best in the decade.
Rank 1st / 34