Saturday, 16 November 2013

Harm Wülf - There's Honey In The Soil So We Wait For The Till

In recent years there has been a glut of material released by members of various heavy music scenes who venture forth as solo artists, taking things back to basics with intimate acoustic material. The likes of Mike Scheidt, Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Nate Hall and even the mighty Wino have released albums of acoustic tracks that hold just as much weight and gravitas as the genre they're better known for.

While Harm Wülf, the alter-ego of Blacklisted frontman George Hirsch, may come from a completely different scene, his contribution with There's Honey In The Soil So We Wait For The Till is just as heavy and just as haunting as the long list of doomed troubadours. That this album doesn't contain the seemingly obligatory Townes Van Zandt cover is evidence enough that Harm Wülf is a vastly different proposition than most releases of this ilk.

Opening with the stripped-back strum of 'Oldfur', it's clear that Hirsch is writing from within a vastly different sphere of influence than most of his acoustic contemporaries. The cadence and flow of the music has an almost neofolk quality, while Hirsch's voice is slightly buried in the mix. This may be a more intimate recording than his work as a hardcore frontman, but he's still keeping his cards close to his chest here, his words just indecipherable enough to retain an air of mystery.

Closing with the album's title track, which begins with finger-picked guitar and the keening wail of a singing saw, it reminds me of The Black Heart Procession's sparser output; it has that same mournful quality. The martial drums used sporadically throughout serve to both unsettle the listener and to hold them rapt, and when the track erupts in the driving rhythm of pounding drums, you'll be utterly swept away by the drama of it all. When it all comes crashing down before returning to the opening guitar motif, and ending with a sample from Where The Wild Things Are, there's a sense that you've just been told a story, that there's an underlying theme to this album. With a few more listens, you may just put together all the pieces of the tale.

As Harm Wülf, George Hirsch has cast himself as the protagonist in a fascinating musical story, and in doing so has created an intimate record full of haunting moments that you'll find yourself returning to again and again in an effort to reap what he has so beautifully sown.

Read my full review at The Sleeping Shaman...

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