Black Noise," which I published a little over a year ago. From their inception almost twelve years ago, this mysterious Canadian duo has acted as one of the most glorious, memorable additions to the "black metal meets harsh noise" phenomenon that has oddly taken the underground by storm. However, I sort of see Wold has gone downhill from their 2008 effort, the extraordinarily harsh, but subtly melodic Stratification, gradually losing their edge with each new album, but such is the way of every band, it would seem. Ever progressing into more noise-oriented territory, seemingly abandoning more and more of their black metal sound with every new release, Wold is, sadly, losing their edge. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind listening to the predominantly noise-oriented Working Together For Our Privacy every once in a while, but Wold's new album, Freermasonry, is almost an unforgivable sin.
Okay, maybe it isn't "unforgivable," but Freermasonry has proven itself to be Wold's least interesting, most poorly performed offering yet. After reading that this specific album would be "entrancing" and filled with "vocal incantations," I was sort of hoping that Freermasonry marked a step back in the syrupy, keyboard-drenched direction heralded by the Badb demo and debut full-length L.O.T.M.P., but I my expectations couldn't have been more incorrect. Gone are the screeching, blown out walls of guitar and harsh, grating vocals, giving way to uninteresting, muddy, quiet rustling noise, not unlike the popping sounds of a bag of Orville Redenbacher in the microwave, and groaning, un-intimidating "screaming." The liner notes divulge that some songs even have extra guitar tracks, and yet I cannot distinguish any extra changes in texture. In fact, the entire album just sounds like it was recorded with a microphone buried under a pile of pillows and blankets. It almost seems that Wold isn't really even trying anymore. I mean, at least with previous albums there was a semblance of melodic motion, even if the guitar tracks were lost in a sea of post-recording distortion and extra heavy electronics, but Freermasonry lacks any of the subdued "musical" elements seen before. There is nothing on which I can grasp. At all. When I listen to Wold, I expect some shadow of black metal in the slightest, but this new album shows Wold turning into a noise band, and one without any intriguing textures at that. For shame, Wold... For shame.
Wold's Freermasonry has proven itself to be one of the biggest disappointments of 2011 (mind you, I wasn't expecting much from Ilud Divinum Satanas), not because of how unlistenable it is, but because it doesn't sound like Wold anymore. If I were you, I'd spend money on a copy of...any other album they've released. You might be interested in buying it if you enjoy punishing your ears, or if you're in need of making other music sound better. If you need me, I'll be wearing best frown while listening to L.O.T.M.P. on repeat.