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Wolcensmen - Fire in the White Stone Award winner

Fire in the White Stone
by Gary Hernandez at 17 November 2019, 8:43 AM

WOLCENSMEN is a Dark Folk project by Dan Capp. Dan is based in High Wycombe, England and has deep artistic talents which expand across a wide array of fields from philosophy to religion to writing to music. The name “Wolcensmen” is an amalgamation of a number of words from various ages. Dan has stated in interviews that it means “men of the heavens” or “men of the clouds.” Under the WOLCENSMEN moniker, Dan has released a demo, an EP, and, as of September 20, 2019, two full-length albums, including the most recent: “Fire in the White Stone.” The latest comprises 11 tracks and runs about 50 minutes. It is produced by John A. Rivers of THE DEAD CAN DANCE fame. In addition to the album, Dan has written a 12,000 word short story that accompanies it. I haven’t been able to get hold of the story, so I’ll limit my review to the album only.

I should point out that this is not a Metal album of any subgenre, but the roof of the Metal Temple is wide and we are a welcoming tribe. So let’s first talk about theme. What is this album about and why would it warrant what almost amounts to a novella to plumb its depths? Promo materials indicate the album conveys “a timeless tale of mystery and destiny, in the spirit of Tolkien, Wagner and the Grail mythos.” And, indeed, Dan has condensed thousands of years of wisdom literature to compose this work. In interviews he has said the “overall message is one of growth and encouragement.” He has, of course, elaborated further but rightfully has pointed out that the reader/listener/audience needs to engage with the work on their own terms to determine what it means for them. Much as Roland Barthes wrote, “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.”

Musically, the album is a lush presentation of acoustic instruments and layered vocal orchestrations. I was pleased to find that most of classic instrumentation is strings, with only some flute. And the flute isn’t some Satyresque trip through the daffodils, so that’s good too. The vocals are all clean, clear, harmonic and melodious, both male and female. The production values are faultless. A proper listening requires a high fidelity system or high-end headphones, a glass of wine, and maybe a fireplace. I’m telling you now, listening to this album via YouTube on a mobile device is pretty much a crime. As far as highs and lows, there is no way I can pick out best or worst tracks. They are all part of a flowing narrative that needs to be experienced in sequence.

Overall, “Fire in the White Stone” is an impeccable album. It is definitely not Neo-Folk Metal or watered down Black Metal. This is a beast of its own kind. If you are a collector, you’ll want to go after a vinyl copy, including the print edition of the short story. Highly recommended. This album will soften your soul and blow your mind.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 10


4 Star Rating

1. Foreboden
2. A Gainsaying
3. Lorn and Loath
4. Hunted
5. The Woodwose
6. Of Thralls and Throes
7. The Swans of Gar's Edge
8. Maidens of the Rimeland
9. Fellowship
10. Sprig to Spear
11. Fire in the White Stone
Dan Capp – Songwriting, Vocals and all instruments

Studio/guest musicians:
Jo Quail – Cello
Aslak Tolonen – Kantele
Jake Rogers – Flute
Darkest – Synth
Grimrik - Synth
Julie Russell – Female vocals
Chris Naughton – Choirs
Mark Deeks – Piano
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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Edited 06 December 2019

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