Woudloper’s 2014 self-titled demo is a damn fine cut of top-sirloin murky black metal, and it’s marinated with both doom and death metal. Following in the footsteps of bands like Negative Plane and Hellige; you have the usual fuzzy guitars, cavernous reverb, and wide-vibrato for that unhinged quasi-psychedelic flavor. With only 17 minutes and two songs titled “I” and “II” (go figure) the project displays a wide range of sounds while keeping the atmosphere consistently oppressive. This is something that can often go awry, a kind of atmospheric decompression as songs become more dynamic, but Woudloper slithers from one tempo or riff to another without even the slightest hiccup.
Woudloper’s particular breed of murk concentrates on sinuous diminished melodies without delving into more the exotic dissonances that sometimes characterize more technical bands. This, along with an ample serving of slower riffs, gives the demo a doomy feel punctuated by accented note-bends. Doominess aside, the demo has an energetic feel to it, due in large part to the smart mixing decisions. Guitars stand at the forefront to keep the atmosphere in focus while the vibrant drums, fuzzy bass, and amorphous vocals sit back in the mix a bit to garnish the uroboric riffs.
Woudloper is flush with ideas, and even the slightly melodramatic four-minute outro in “II” never quite feels like the project is chewing the cud. Each of the four separate moments of feedback worship feel necessary to divide the album. Quick breaths of air to prolong a particularly cruel drowning. This excellent demo has is just the right marbling of heaviness, atmosphere, languor, and discomforting weirdness - bon appétit.
Woudloper's Bandcamp Page