Woodwall – WoodEmpire

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Providing six evocative soundscapes of stoner bred and progressively expanded evocation, WoodEmpire from Italian quartet Woodwall is a richly compelling introduction to the band, a release which immerses the listener in an impacting expanse of thick sound and impressive imagination. The EP is not casting new pastures it is probably fair to say but for a debut it is powerfully striking and extensively satisfying whilst breeding a promise for the Lunigiana hailing band which cannot be ignored or taken lightly.

Released via Red Sound Records, WoodEmpire soon has fascination and attention on full alert with its title track. The opening song slowly emerges from a sonic pulsing; its breath coated in an intrigue enhanced by the guitar of vocalist Matteo Signanini as it starts its melodic design. Soon joined and skirted by the rhythmic craft of Pietro Groppi, it is a full enticement elevated further by the delicious almost spacey keys of Paolo Cipolla, their presence sinister yet magnetic and a perfect tease within the intensive weight of the song pressing upon the ears. It is a formidable and riveting adventure with the gruff vocals of Signanini another impacting lure. Eight minutes in length the song evolves its intent and sound across its body, a fiery melodic temptation keeping thoughts and emotions away from expectations and the excellent bass of Massimo Cornali providing constant enthralling shadows which at times keeps to the darker corners of the track and in others leads forward an irrepressible and seductive persuasion. It finishes on a drone infused temptation, a closing stretch of invention which plays like a mix of Palms and Kyuss whilst leaving the imagination to invent its own exploits within and to follow the stunning start to the release.

Again a sonic ambience infiltrates the air from which second song Locrian flexes its intensive muscle. The initial approach of the song feelscover like a continuation of the heart of its predecessor, in texture and especially the keys and the heavy compelling bass and drum probing. The doomy coverage of the senses is virulently spellbinding; a description which applies to the whole of the EP, but within that heady smothering the band and song ignites an energy and rapacious adrenaline which forms a feisty canter within a melodically acidic splendour. Not as dramatically incendiary as the first the track still feeds the ripe hunger now in place for the release and the greedy imagination being seriously provoked by the adventure before it.

Both King Stuste and Red Toad bring a heavy metal swagger to their swampy stoner calls, an inspiration of the likes of Black Sabbath, Sleep, and Kyuss seemingly casting their potency across the songs. The first of the pair is a stomping charge of thumping rhythms and heavy duty riffs aligned to ridiculously contagious acidic grooves and scorching melodic flames. It is a deceptively uncomplicated but superbly crafted and layered confrontation which simultaneously bruises the senses whilst searing them with a sizzling sonic provocation and invention; old school rock ‘n’ roll in many ways but one fuelled by the incite and bravery of modern experimentation. Its successor is a similarly sculpted instrumental but one again unique in presence and sound to the other tracks, a piece which pulls thoughts and emotions in with ease and treats them to another expressive and exciting exploration.

The following Walden steps from a cold and haunting wasteland, the chilling atmosphere the home for another emerging sonic embrace rife with menace and inciting suggestiveness. From inside of its breath a melodic casting of guitar and keys embraces the senses with the ever expressive and melodic vocals of Signanini aided by Cipolla, a captivating breeze within equally invigorating and altruistic imagination. Just exceeding eleven minutes the track is a smouldering emprise, a slow burning seduction which never quite finds earlier pinnacles set upon WoodEmpire but shows the immense scope and craft within the band and their songwriting, making the horizons for Woodwall something to be highly anticipated and you suspect greedily devoured.

The record is completed by Holocene/Cambrian, the track leaving the release and listener on a major high. The rhythms of Groppi as across the EP take the senses on a tempestuous parade of skill and unpredictable allurement backed by the just as predacious guitar exploits and bass prowling. Never content in a single route to the passions, as the whole of WoodEmpire, it is a magnificent conclusion to a colourful and dramatically impressive release. Woodwall is a band on the start of a rapid and powerful ascent you suspect on the evidence of WoodEmpire, one a great many will be keeping a close and enthusiastic eye upon.



RingMaster 01/11/2013

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Categories: EP, Music

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