Review: Sunwølf – Beholden To Nothing And No One

Sunwølf - Beholden To Nothing And No OneI reach the halfway point at the termination of “Heathens Rest”, and find myself airborne for just a moment. I exist in the horizon line, having bled into the earthly crust of the first 50 minutes, and prepare to dissipate into the ethereal open end of the final 30; I am struck upon the head and reborn, stripped of the grit and affirmation that has occupied my head up until now, and left to drift, bodiless, into the confluence of meaning and unrequited curiosity. Sunwølf begin with an irrefutable declaration of all of the answers, before promptly declaring all answers as obsolete.

The first half is pure assertion; guitars and drums struck with impenetrable faith, like a fist thumping the ground to stress the unquestionable existence of the earth itself. Guitars burst with crisp power chords and then hang open to empty themselves, punctured by emphatic thumps of percussion that treat each action as an absolute, resounding exhalation. To term it “doom” feels appropriate – not just for the sheer weight and deliberate pace of the statement, but for its brick wall of absolute truth. Screams and quivering amplifiers invest themselves in each gesture as though there is nothing else for which to exist. There is nowhere to go from here.

The fragility of “Heathens Rest” starts the dislodging process – minor-key strums of onset sadness, a translucent voice in wounded lament – and with “Twelve Sunne”, the world finally uproots itself. The band’s tectonic anchorage melts into a transient flow of insatiable spiritual pursuit; I am projected into the atmosphere, witness to how Sunwølf’s sounds splay into the vast unknown, like a unidirectional river flow introduced to the tidal contradictions of open water. Hanging electronic drones start to occupy the places where the distortion used to be, dragged out into infinite incompletion and uncertainty. Pianos curl into reverse, plumes of jazz fan outward and synthesisers drift upward like balloons of pure light – I am teased apart by the whistles of organic dissonance and sounds of autumnal nature and steel industry shifting in doubtful unrest, as the earth blurs into an abstraction of sensation and colour.