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White Ward - Futility Report Award winner

White Ward
Futility Report
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 16 August 2017, 8:14 AM

It’s not often that I get the pleasure of reviewing a very unique Post-Metal act out of the Ukraine. Formed in 2012, WHITE WARD has been actively releasing demos, EPs, and a split, but “Futility Report” is their first full-length release, in 2017. Saxophone in Post-Black Metal? Why not? The genre has an amazingly vast boundary, where almost anything goes. So bands can feel free to pour every inch of their personal style into a recording, which can be a fairly rare thing. Without regard for convention, “Futility Report” is a twisted blend of many styles, and the six tracks will get you thinking in a way that you haven’t done before when it comes to the medium of music.

“Deviant Shapes” is an unusually constructed song for sure. It opens with dissonant chords laying beneath spoken male vocals, quivering with fear. After a couple minutes, a familiar Black Metal sound slams in…past picked guitars, blast beat drums and vocal screams. Then there is that saxophone…in the haze of a smoky club, its soft jazzy notes seem completely out of place. But when they combine with the distorted guitars it somehow works. On an otherwise dreary and repetitive day in Hell, Satan lounges in the flames with his sax, crooning gently to the tortured souls?  I can buy it. “Stillborn Kowledge” is a bit harder from the start, and in some ways reminds me of the Experimental/Black outfit IHSAHN. Uniquely crafted riffs create a peculiar sound that is heavy and rhythmic but still very much accessible. It’s like the band were never exposed to conventional music before sitting down to compose. Listen to the sax, guitar and bass notes dance with the jazzy drumming, in an interlude of expressive peacefulness, and then take in the weighted section that follow to fulfill several temperaments at the same time.

“Homecoming” opens with spires of jazzy brilliance that illuminate your surroundings, but quickly turn black, with howling vocals and a gloomy outlook from a slower, grinding pace. Coming home seems to be a reference for a drug-induced death of sorts. Save for the opening and a little ambient piano, this is a pretty go-for-the-throat type of depressing sound. “Rain as Cure” is a pleasing little instrumental with more sax, some finger snapping/drum block strikes, a groovy bass guitar and some nice layering as it moves along. It’s still a fairly melancholy sound but there are moments of care-free sort of living as well. “Black Silent Piers” circles back around to a hard and heavy Black Metal sound but with some wonderfully dreary sounds, like looking out your window never ending grey skies and rain. “When death passes your time will come, and you will sleep no longer…give me the power to calm down the waves so I can hear your call” is the closing lyric line. The song ends with an emotionally charged lead break over a bed of soft piano keys to a fade out.

The title track, “Futility Report,” closes the album. The eight minute arrangement is a dirge thick with energy and a structure really unlike any of the other songs. It showcases a different side of the album where you can enjoy a little more of a traditional sounding Metal song, and the variation is great. Even among the wide variety of music I have heard in this budding and specialized genre, this album stands out as peculiar, unique and idiosyncratic. It has a certain disposition where the personality of the band stands out the most. It took a few listens to catch all the nuance and gradation of the songwriting; the “nooks” and “crannies” if you will. If you appreciate sophistication in your Black Metal/Post-Black Metal, here is an album that will challenge what you think you know about music. The niche is carved and ready for you; you just need to climb in.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Deviant Shapes
2. Stillborn Knowledge
3. Homecoming
4. Rain as Cure
5. Black Silent Piers
6. Futility Report
Lineup:
Andrew Rodin – Vocals
Yurii Kazaryan – Guitars
Igor Palamarchuk – Guitars
Alexey Iskimzhi – Saxophone
Andrii Pechatkin – Bass
Yurii Kononov – Drums 
Record Label: Debemur Morti Productions
     


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