about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_impurewilhelmina_blackhoney001006.jpg
Some band names seem to hit the nail on the head of aural expectations before even listening to a note of their music. And the atmospherically monikered Swiss outfit, Impure Wilhelmina, fulfil such for me with 'Black Honey', their first new album for six years. Intermittently releasing material since 1997, they've remained, according to press blurb, "European post-hardcore's best-kept secret." Indeed they have for they're a new name to me. And post-hardcore is perhaps a misleading label that does something of an injustice to their overall musicality which transcends any preconceptions associated with such a tag. The vocals are predominantly clean for starters - ever so slightly dissonant (as is the music), although there are barely no post-hardcore growls to be found here. Apparently, this is something of a departure for the band as previous releases have been characterised by frontman Michael Schindl's harsh voice. And press ramblings would have you believe the album has a predominance of "shimmering pop sensibilities". Perhaps this is true as a comparative observation against their previous work (of which I'm unable to pass judgement), although "pop" this most certainly isn't. Sure, it's a more easy-on-the-ear listen than what one would usually anticipate for a post-hardcore band but accessibility through melancholically inclined melodies in no small way constitutes pop. And again, this has to be a comparison to Impure Wilhelmina's past approach as this won't be accessible to all. Compositions twist and turn within the context of a discordant/concordant duality. With a largely melancholic sway throughout, songs weave melodies that alternate between the accessible and more challenging, through both euphonic and cacophonic passages of music. Clean guitar parts are occasionally introduced into the mix although, for most of the album's playing time, it's distorted/layered guitars that dominate through a quasi-sludge semblance, but without ever resorting to a heavy sludge discord. This is sludge-lite, if you will. Schindl's vocals, while diverging into dissonant territory now and again, are likeable enough to carry the songs. While they're rough around the edges, this is kind of befitting of the music over which he sings. So what of those original expectations I mentioned? Well, 'Black Honey' is an atmospherically heavy, melancholically inclined, innovatively driven record. Everything that Impure Wilhelmina implied through their name. What I hadn't expected, though, is the depth of this album and all the new sonics repeated listens reveal. Well worth checking out if you like your metal to be both emotionally charged and genuinely progressive, while retaining an inherent accessibility.
Hummus Records
Review by Mark Holmes
14th Feb 2014
1) The Enemy
2) Submersible Words
3) Chest
4) Grand Gendarme
5) Black Horse
6) Joseph
7) Mute
8) Uncomfortable Life
9) Courageous
10) For the Man that I Love
11) God Rules His Empire
"...an atmospherically heavy, melancholically inclined, innovatively driven record."