Non compos mentis — With all signals scrambled and without any escape plan in mind the aching dementia of the soul necessitates its own kinetically sparking erraticism. Tracers cross the eyes, a thousand darting lines hallucinate-to-life celestial forests, ice riddled castles, meteoric cosmic upheaval and daemonic ordainment without order compressing these spasming images in mind. It all comes bursting out, an unprocessed and raw-reeking expurse from the skulls feeding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based black-thrashing metal trio Wild Beyond, who manifest as symptom of delirious perceptual re-learning and the freely sculpted nature of extremophilic heavy metal’s fringe potentiate. Nihilistic yet illustrated with great wonderment, cacophonic in its greater menace yet gallivanting in high fantasy spirits… every angle of approach one could take in view of their debut full-length, ‘Wild Beyond‘, will inevitably butt up against a sharp angled twist, turn and/or challenging retort wherein the experience is myriad in its blurred focus and oft imaginative non-linear strokes. The full effect is maddening but not entirely impossible to put a finger upon and parse in a simple enough way thought this weirding, traipse n’ stab-happy affectation will be a serious head-check before the major allure of this vexing debut reveals itself.
Wild Beyond formed mid-2020 during the height of pandemic uncertainty as Daeva vocalist Edward Gonet picked up a guitar after five years away from his former black/thrash metal band Infernal Stronghold‘s stalling out and began chipping away at ideas which he’d soon begin to demo as the core line-up solidified to include drummer Evan Madden (Sylvan Realm, ex-Woods of Ypres) and bassist Jim Viola (Morgul Blade, ex-Basilysk). The process as described appears to have been freely ambitious, pretty much letting Gonet do his thing and translating programmed drum-built rhythms to fluid-as-possible performances from the rhythm section. This leaves ‘Wild Beyond‘ impossibly dense, fundamentally technical for the sake of lacking expected transitional phrasing, and often running off into appropriately wild tangential thought whenever the moment calls for something else. Skronking black metal energy and jagged thrashing buzz make for strange interplanetary alliance as the “cosmic majesty” of their black metal side meets up with “street thrash” chops which unnaturally squares its jaw with hints of early Celtic Frost (by way of Aura Noir) style movement (“Arctic Stargate”), Voivod-esque multi-directional riff attacks and a few notable spikes of heavy metal striding tucked into any available region (see: “Detonation of Secret Works”.) The effect is certainly not so primitive or ‘old school’ as such ancient references might imply but the bones of their entity bear a crazed and adventurous spirit behind the eyes which appear in extension of extreme thrash influences.
None of this should be viewed as all that alien when considering Wild Beyond as a point of progress beyond Gonet‘s young lifetime spent in the born manic and increasingly ordered Infernal Stronghold, though this record doesn’t too directly line-up with what ‘Down the Black Tube‘ was doing back in 2015. Point being that ‘Wild Beyond‘ reads as a rush of blood from the ear, a ton of ideas waiting to gush out now that the medium feels fresh in hand and the revivification of the guitarist arrives upon fluency. The trouble of letting it all out in a bloody cyclonic vacuum of sorts is that the ole editorial scalpel applied to these riffs allows for exuberance but not flow and instead we get a kaleidoscopic barrage of an album, which, I suppose helps to make it unique. The initial induction into their realm on my part served as pure disarray, a siphoning tube quickly twisting far beyond the intermittent freakouts and curveballs offered by opener “In the Footsteps of Mars“. The tunnel vision which results beyond that point is nothing short of hellish… nothing the black-thrasher can’t handle and in fact that strangled, nebulously communicated thread is perhaps that is what helps ‘Wild Beyond‘ stand out overall.
No place of rest, no Eden in sight. — The frantically shifting modular nature of Wild Beyond‘s riffcraft threatens to manifest as either an inspired gift and/or a bit of a curse depending on how memorable and traditional the listener expects a thrashing black metal record to be. On one hand a piece like “Frenzied at the Skull” speaks to the awkward traditions of United States black metal’s over the top freneticism and it’s internalization of the easier parsed heavy rock influences inherent to certain Norwegian black metal acts, on the other hand there is a tentative touch to this swinging movement which never creates a whole phrase so much as it jumps between focused flurries and distracting change-ups. This ends up working best as a general modus when slowing down, such as more traditional stomp of “Arctic Stargate” alongside the death-thrashing progressions of “Sculpting the Abyss”, which make up what is arguably the most readable portion of the record and I’d say the most characteristic work from the band in terms of oddly stretched grooves, anticipatory tempo changes and anxietous movement in general.
For those of you trying to pick through the weeds of my thoughts, definitely join the club as I’d only stop just short of landing upon a conclusion of riff saladry. To compound this thought, brief closer “Radio Burst Dark Origins” has a bit of The Chasm-esque technique applied to its verse riffs and in some sense this record feels exactly that in the zone, in its own head and firing off hot at ideas which aren’t yet sandwiching together in entirely slick ways. A few of the songs here definitely do get there in terms of creating a moment which fits a certain cohesive vision, such as the shotgun buildering of “Detonation of Secret Works” and its jaunty epic heavy metal trotting-off into the sunset, yet the results are always somewhat distempered and/or off-kilter enough that their loose pokes at tunefulness don’t stick in mind despite ‘Wild Beyond‘ being a relatively short ride at ~33 minutes. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the performances, the run-on bursts of harried ideas and the generally inspired interpretation of black metal guitar mayhem happening on this record it is ultimately a scramble to the finish line more than anything else and I’m not sure that’ll land as much more than a curious thrill for most folks willing to take a deeper bite of this first draft. A moderately high recommendation.
Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:
Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly