Wind’s Poem

Mount Eerie mastermind Phil Elverum calls the music on Wind’s Poem “black metal.”  At times it sounds like something that heavy, especially on the opener “Wind’s Dark Poem” – dense, pressurized plies of feedback; swollen oceans cymbals and sounding gongs; sludgy, stomped chords that gurgle upward from the intestinal compression; a lone, lonely voice whipped between the violent elements it floats among.  Though music isn’t always that heavy the black never lifts; even softly wooden songs like “Wind Speaks” and “Ancient Questions” are buttressed with deep throbs sub-bass and slow rolls of guttural drums, perpetually echoing synthesizers and soft guitar notes held so long they begin to buzzsaw.  On both songs loud and soft (Elverum’s wind knows only to whisper or shout) the instruments bleed into each other; a distortion in one shudders through the others, the sound always a single whole, a pure solution without layers.  The record is heard as a forest at night is seen – without foreground or background but somehow still all encompassing.  The lyrics articulate what the distantly swirling sound evokes.  Elverum sings of natural forces both beautiful and terrible: powerful rivers that wash things clean but that also “bring bodies” and other harbingers of doom; a wind that is both “destroyer” and “revealer,” that promises to “tear the old land from itself.”  It’s the same thematic ground he’s trod his entire career – the beauty that fades and the disillusionment that follows, the sustained shock of seeing the natural sublime, “the oceans of changing shape” and “the rivers tearing hills finished with mountains” – real things the lyrics make symbols that still exert their original power.  Rarely are lyrics and music of such visionary ambition matched; another fine record from one of the most intellectually challenging musicians around.