Help a Body

Westering - Help a Body ©2010 Paradigms
1. We Buried Him Preciously
2. Only Forever
3. My Naked Hands
4. To Lurch and Fail
5. An Old Confusion
6. I Soon Will Be Myself Again
7. Gestures In the Dark
8. Vestiges
9. White Haired

One would think there was something in the Pacific Northwest's water with the amount of atmosphereic black metal bands coming from the region. I can attest that no, the water here doesn't lead to black metal since I drink plenty of it and managed to only learn a few Ramones songs on the bass, but there is definitely something inspiring in Washington state. By now everyone and their grandmothers know about Wolves In the Throne Room. And undoubtedly there are at least eighteen new black metal outfits in Portland formed by hipsters who grew up listening to Radiohead and Burzum. But one of the more interesting acts I've heard recently is Seattle's Westering, a one man project that offers up some epic atmospheric black metal that also dips toes into old shoegazer rock as well as the utterly void of concrete description post-rock.

Westering offers up vocals straight out of the suicidal black metal world but the overall sound borrows heavily from the My Bloody Valentine school of big cavernous reverb and echos, creating a wall of sound with the guitars. Westering also throws in electronic ambient passages, which tend to sound a bit like soundtrack music to obscure films. Although these segments do fit into the overall pictures, it's less impressive than the metal compositions. Westering's strength is how well the songs move and their utterly epic quality. Possibly the finest example of the band's music is "My Naked Hands", which is rather simple in the underlying melody yet entirely moving and memorable. The recording of the album allows for the instruments to have that "blurry" feel of shoegazer bands who built their sound based on shimmering guitars, while still having a good listening experience.

Help a Body is one of the better current acts that have been heavily influenced by the past two decades of black metal (hard to believe that this offshoot of heavy metal has been around for so long now...why, it seems like just yesterday Varg was burning churches and stabbing guitarists) and found a way to freshen it up with the post rock influences. This is a very good debut and makes me hope that there is a follow up on its way soon.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2011

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