Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Werewolves in Siberia - The Rising (album review)

When I'm not reviewing albums or interviewing bands and musicians, I write fiction, specifically horror fiction.  Writing fiction without music is like building with bricks and no mortar.  To me, Doom is the music of horror and that's one of the reasons I got hooked on the stuff in the first place.  Now, most bands within the Doom genre don't often directly borrow elements from Goblin, John Carpenter or Mike Oldfield (although some do), the horror in Doom is a manifestation of fear and morbid musings.  The bands within it often push the music of horror into new places and dimensions.  Werewolves in Siberia does not fall within the genre of doom, nor does it fall under any of its various subgenre, but, from a purely retrospective point of view, it represents the purest strain of horror music one can encounter.  Werewolves in Siberia is a one-man horror synth project out of Idaho.  Chris Cavoretto, the man-wolf from Siberia (by way of Idaho) behind the music, comes from the worlds of metal and hardcore and slathers his compositions in those sensibilities.  Fans of late seventies / early eighties horror films and their soundtracks will find a lot to love in his latest offering, 'The Rising'.

There are other electro horror synth artists out there that one can find on bandcamp: Umberto and Giallo Disco stir from the same pool of inspiration, but Werewolves in Siberia separate themselves from the pack.  Even within this weird subgenre they are different.  Where those other artists can be labelled as IDM with a dark twist, Werewolves is pure darkness with an electronic twist.  The visions of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Don Coscarelli and George Romero are the very substance of 'The Rising'.  What makes Werewolves worthy of your attention as a Paranoid Hitsophrenic reader are the metallic touches Cavoretto brings to the table, most notably on "Destruction".  Heavy bass synth that at times recalls the most violent tones and textures of Nine Inch Nails' "Pretty Hate Machine" while attaining an iconic hook.

"The Hunt for Humans" is a fine example of how the music will grow and mutate from a basic idea or framework into something more complex and ultimately more horrible.  Use of solid drumming, of which Cavoretto statesis the one element of this project he considers to be directly influenced by his metal roots, increases tension, gives it a high 'danger factor' and grounds this mostly digital creation in a solid reality.  In this way, the music itself illuminates the name of the band, where slow building music becomes a living metaphor for lycanthropic transformation.

"Night of the Flesheaters" and "Blood Moon" keep things moving along this same track.  Ever-expanding darkness and ever-increasing tension.   As each song starts, one often gets the mental impression of a small group of survivors huddled together in a stairwell exit or tomb or forest etc., the song structure itself then becomes a study in the imaginary characters not quite making their collective escapes.  That's what kind of album this is.  There is no happy ending here.

Of course, it's this image-making, however bleak, which is the real appeal of this album.  The truth is, had such horror luminaries as those directors listed above not enlisted the aid of such composers as Goblin for example, this kind of album would hold no charms for rock and metal people.  As it is I can't recommend Umberto and Giallo Disco here because their sounds, though inspired by the very same horror films and soundtracks of the seventies as WIS, are simply too bright and dance oriented.  Thankfully, Werewolves in Siberia's vision is as pure and unrelenting as it is dark.  'The Rising' will not inspire you to dance, 'The Rising' will inspire you to turn all the lights on and lock all the doors and windows.

I don't need to tell you, this kind of thing is not to everyone's taste, but it is to mine.  I love the horror films and their soundtracks that were coming out around the time I was born and just before.  This was the genre's peak.  'The Rising' represents a return to the summit for frightening instrumental synth music.  This album is a flame thrower to the kerosene of imagination.  'The Rising' is pure horror music.

Highlights include: "Destruction" and "Blood Moon"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 28:20

From: Siberia, Idaho

Genre: Horror, Synth, Electronic

Reminds me of: Blizaro, John Carpenter, Giallo Disco, Goblin, Northwinds, Qosmic Qey, Umberto

Release Date: March 12, 2013

Better Reviews:
UK Horror Scene

Zombie Hamster interview*

Werewolves in Siberia official website

Werewolves in Siberia on facebook

*special thanks to Zombie Hamster website for introducing a rich world of synth driven horror music to me through this interview!

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