Here’s a question we often get asked (not really “often”, OK, but, you know): which albums end up getting a review as opposed to being featured in a column? The answer, as you might have guessed, is that there’s no firm rule to it. Each writer can decide what to include in a column and every writer and write a review. For me, it’s down to several factors but chief among them is how much I want to highlight an album, how much it feels special to me. After all, a review stands out from the crowd, simply by virtue of the fact that we only post four of them, or so, each month. Does that mean that the albums I review are necessarily the best albums? No. But it does mean that they are the albums I most want other people to hear. Maybe because they’re just very good, or underrated or, as is the case this time, very weird and unique.
Wreche can be “simply” described as “what if black metal but instead of guitars playing the tremolo riffs it was piano?” If you just went “wait, what?” then I sympathize because that’s what I said the first time this album played. But ever since then, I have fallen absolutely in love with it; it’s not just the piano, but also the extremely desperate and agony-filled vocals, the rich synths that add a whole layer of mystery and grandeur to the release, and just how unique it is. Seriously, very little sounds like All my dreams came true, the solo project’s forthcoming release. It’s equal part fragility, suffering, anger, and mystical experience.
Wait, mystical experience? Yes. There’s something not quite religious but also not quite secular about Wreche’s music. John Steven Morgan, the beating heart behind this project, does an excellent job of constructing this sense of the sacral from the bits and pieces surrounding the music, like the quotes featured on the project’s Bandcamp page. This one, by known surrealist and often mystic Henry Miller, is especially apt for the music that the album ends up being:
“To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.”
The music itself also conveys this idea, by focusing so heavily on the vocals. “Schrezo” for example, the second track on the release, is filled with agonizing screams overlaid on top of a decidedly minor and dissonant piano line. More piano chords are constantly crashing in the background while the drums punctuate their emergency with very dirty cymbals and abrasive feedback builds and releases. Through all of this chaos, the screams lead the way for much of the track, interacting with the feedback in really interesting and oppressive ways. “The essential thing is to want to sing” is really conveyed by this track, the passion and dedication of Morgan coming through the often unpleasant, but always captivating, performance.
The mysticism of the album is conveyed in the flip-side to this agony, as mysticism often is coupled with suffering, on the more “beautiful” and fragile tracks. The aptly named “Mysterium” opens with dreamy piano notes that almost sound like a harp for their chromaticism and dulcet tones. While the vocals are still abrasive, they are far less filled with pain, instead tapping into the sort of defiant, operatic tone that black metal so often relies on. Here, the piano, and the synths, are more the focus of the track, conveying a sort of rarified feeling, a gesture towards beauty that waits far off, on top of a mountain or, indeed, in heaven itself.
The final result of these two contrasting sounds, which are repeated throughout the release, is an agonizingly mesmerizing release. All my dreams come true over and over again moves the listener from the heights of expression that black metal can offer to the dregs of the human experience that it can explore. Like mysticism itself, it aspires for the divine and the beautiful while wallowing in the physical and the ugly. It’s a complicated release which approaches black metal from a perspective that is wholly its own and that, if you’re a fan of the hidden potentials of black metal, you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s truly a unique experience.
All my dreams came true releases on May 14th. You can head on over to the project’s Bandcamp above to pre-order it.