The Howling Wind – Of BabalonRyan Lipynsky is keeping active these days with Unearthly Trance, Thralldom and The Howling Wind, whilst Tim Parasitic is notably involved in Weregoat and Alderbaran. This is the third release then from The Howling Wind project and features Lipynsky on guitars and basses with Parasitic on percussion. The production throughout is muddy, which allows the guitars to create a distinctive wall of sound over which the drums can pummel the listener into the ground with steady ferocity or assault them around the ears with flourishes of blast beats.

Opening circumspectly with ‘The Seal Upon the Tomb’ the album, soon takes on a more brutal stance with ‘Beast of the Sea’. The vocals are guttural and demonic, whilst the guitar, bass and drums sit evenly in the mix to add to the overall sense of cacophony. ‘Graal’ and ‘Chronozon’ grab the listener by the lapels and do not let go throughout the duration of hammering percussion and searing lead lines. ‘Scaling the Walls’ opens with a simple pattern which is soon pushed aside to allow demented vocals and an exasperatingly memorable riff to carry the listener on. By this time, the listener realises that there is not a simple, singular musical theme that holds this release together, but an assortment of incongruent styles that fuse together to produce the unholy finished product. However, chaotic the finished product could possibly sound, however, there is never a sense that Lipynsky and Parasitic have lost control over the discord.

‘The Mountain View’ features more of their characteristic driving percussion and frantic vocals, whilst ‘Abominations and Filth’ is propelled on a sophisticated, bouncing drum pattern, providing the foundations on which to lay hazy guitar patterns and squalling vocals. ‘Gateways’ is a multifaceted piece of music which begins aggressively and confrontational but which over the course of its six minutes slows gradually into intricate patterns of contrasting guitar lines over blast beats. The overall effect here is menacing and exhilarating and indicates the progressive nature of song construction right through the album.

The unnamed track featured at the end of this release, begins with dark and unnatural percussion, which soon makes way for high speed riffs and a less guttural, but no less demonic approach to the vocals. As the unnamed track progresses the tempo increases and the ferocity builds up until the final unholy sound. Possibly, it could be argued, slightly out of character from the rest of this release, but showcasing the breadth of influences and styles apparent.

There is an overall sense of claustrophobia to the songs here, and each song goes further somewhat into creating a sense of rage, power and darkness, whilst at the same time filling the listener with a sense of serenity and hope. All these senses are quite often on display at the same time. Apparently a concept album based on Aleister Crowley’s Thelema System teachings, featuring the Scarlet Lady Babalon and the Great Beast (the devil), from his book “The Book of the Law”, “Of Babalon” is a complex journey through the individuals imagination and tolerance, which is generally the hallmark of a piece of work worth devoting some time and consideration to.

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