White Ward – Debemur Morti (Review)

White Ward - Debemur MortiThis is the latest EP from Ukrainian post-black metallers White Ward.

Released to commemorate record label Debemur Morti‘s 200th release, this new EP contains two tracks, with a total duration of 17 minutes.

We start with the title track, which is nine minutes in length. The song features guest clean vocals from the singer of Borknagar/Solefald.

The song is an emotive, textured piece. Scathing blackened fury primarily takes the limelight for the song’s first half, before powerful clean vocals enter, and the song takes a more epic, sweeping turn. It’s dark and atmospheric, and as it develops it increasingly exists in a place where post-black metal aggression and saxophone-driven neo-jazz meet. A brief interlude for some haunting piano is introduced, then the song progresses to an ending that sounds not far away from something that the mighty Anathema might have penned, only with a slice of blackjazz thrown in at the final moment. Overall, its a very, very strong song.

After this we have the eight-minute Embers.

Embers is very much a mood piece, and a song of two halves. The first is sultry and emotive, and picks up the neo-jazz pieces that Debemur Morti discarded, forging them into an ambient work that’s as absorbing as it is immersive. Building a softly-unfolding soundscape with consummate easy mastery, this piano-led half works extremely well. The second half transforms what was well-crafted in the first half into something as equally well-crafted, only darker and more vicious. The atmospheric elements are channelled into a blackened outburst of harsh intensity that still has the wherewithal needed to further develop the themes introduced in the first half.

What an exquisite, exceptional EP. If this is any indication of the quality of material we should expect for White Ward’s upcoming new album, then we should all be very excited.

Essential listening.

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