Album Title: 
A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun
Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Review Type: 

A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun is the one and only full length recorded by defunct Danish formation Whelm. There was one single EP before (called The Prologue, 2006), and in 2010 the quartet registered their full album. It got mixed and mastered shortly after by Esoteric’s Greg Chandler at the famous Priory Recording Studio (Esoteric, Fatum Elisum, Section 37, Lychgate, Raving Season and many more), and in early June 2013 the band independently released this album the digital way.

Then Aesthetic Death showed up with the aim to re-release this material on CD in May 2014 (the band, by the way, split up in mean time). I do not know if that re-release got effected, but now the album sees the unlight once again, which undersigned is very grateful for! And just for your information: it comes with new cover artwork and fine artwork.

There are eight compositions on A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun, having a total running time of fifty five minutes. The journey starts with the shorter piece Tann Døkka Jørd, which is a quasi-perfect introduction to Whelm’s raison d’être. This material exhales the purest essence of timeless, yet at the same time old schooled, Melodic Doom-Death Metal, coming with both a desolate and sad feeling, as well as a specific malicious anger underneath the surface. As from The Brazen Bull on, Whelm introduces loads of Funeral Doom elements, which come clear in the melodious-trem leads and massive rhythm patterns especially. And more than once the attentive listener will detect hints of droning and scornful Sludge at the one hand, and misanthropic Depressive Black Metal at the other hand too.

Most pieces are multi-levelled, and then I am referring to several layers of aural expression, delving into diverse yet, evidently, related atmospheres and dimensions. And no, this album is not the most original, renewing recording I’ve heard in years either. But for the better part, Whelm try, and succeed to, create a pretty own approach, an own-faced expression of their Aural Art, and it gets translated in gradually great terms of Music with several highlights; Perpetual Blindness is a logical example, I think, with those many loops and tempo-changes, these ‘oriental’ injections, and the mostly funereal, suicidal-depressive melody-structures. Esoteric-meet-Monolithe isn’t such a terrible comparison, I guess… there are nearly no negative aspects, only surpluses, such as the fabulous leads (almost the Shoegaze-alike mentality), the variating vocals, or the truly magnificent sound quality (!).