One of the things that I love most about writing for It Djents is getting to hear a variety of albums that I wouldn’t have listened to otherwise. From all the doom to deathcore, we cover a lot. Well, today I’m bringing you my thoughts on one of those really special records: Man is Wolf to Man by Bolt Gun. This is their third LP, and will be out 11/14. The record is 53:55 long, and is comprised of only two tracks, “Part I” and “Part II”. Does this album structure ring a Bell (Witch)?
My first impression of the album cover here was that it was giving off a post-rock vibe; the image wouldn’t seem out of place on a Godspeed You! Black Emperor release. Knowing that this was sort of classified with doom metal, I wondered if the art was any indication of what I would hear once I gave the album a spin. Turns out I wasn’t too far off. There are a lot of elements at play on Man is Wolf to Man, but there is a very strong post-rock vibe present. Of course, there is much more than that too.
When “Part I” begins, it’s hard not to notice the abundant atmosphere that is being created. The use of synth admittedly somewhat surprised me. What’s more interesting still, is that when synth elements are present, they aren’t behind the wall of sound that this album tends to use, but instead right up front, leading the charge. With a run time of 30:45, “Part I” has a lot going on: it spends around eight minutes layering all of the sonic elements, and doing so with a pulsing, powerful rhythm that just oozes dread. Much like Briqueville’s release from earlier this year, the raw emotion in the singing (read: wailing) and the spoken word segments are dire and unnerving. It’s fantastic.
“Part II” does in many ways feel like a sequel to the first song. The elements that are at play in “Part I” are also present, but they are layered in different ways. At the beginning, we are introduced to the slow, steady synth that we had heard before, but with an ambiance that behaves as a simulated tide: rolling in, rolling out. As things build slowly, we get cymbal taps that give the effect of the shimmering of light, until the full kit comes in, establishing the rhythm of the traditionally-structured segment of the song. Along with that structure, we get some black metal-esque tremolo picking and those wailing vocals come back to haunt once again.
To try and break down each part of this record is quite futile. Much like an abstract painting, I could try to describe it to you over and over again, but my explanation of the parts will never truly demonstrate the beauty of the whole. If you have an interest in music that eludes a simple explanation, then I highly suggest that you try this album. It’s dense but digestible, beautiful but tragic. I have no doubt that this will end up on a few lists at the end of the year; it’s simply that good. I fear that this album will pass many without much notice, and that would be a tragedy. Don’t let it slip by.
Notable Tracks: Both of them
FFO: Briqueville, Bell Witch, ROSK