Wilt: Dark Meadows
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Keep the razor blades locked away while listening to Wilt's fourth full-length Dark Meadows. It's an uncompromisingly disturbing, often harrowing work created by Wilt founder James Keeler and new addition guitarist Dan Hall. That Wilt is now a band, even if a small one, is significant since Hall's acoustic textures strengthen the humanizing dimension of the group's otherwise electronic sound and encourage a looser and more explorative compositional approach (in “Harmonic Convergence,” his acoustic playing suggests some trace of life remains amidst the muffled clanking and bird noises). Yet despite the presence of lulling acoustic strums, the predominantly gloomy Dark Meadows approximates a psychedelic and disorienting soundtrack for that final journey to Hades.

Guitars shudder and bells echo over barren landscapes while rusted factory machinery churns and squeals mercilessly in these hellish nightscapes. “When the Earth Swallows Us Whole” grotesquely lurches like a corpse being dragged towards its open grave; its horror-film organ chords are straight out of The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and the piece eventually seems to become gripped by a seizure as its chords merge into an indistinguishable mass. The seething “For Blake” sounds like bird cawing amplified to a shrill, ear-splitting pitch while “Keeper of Lanterns” drifts through the graveyard at 3 am checking to make sure nothing has escaped from its crypt. The zenith is reached in the hellish soundscape “The Devil's Rainbow” where distorted squeals tear across your eardrums like fingernails on a blackboard. Though a far from conventionally ‘pleasant' listen, Dark Meadows is without question an incredible and immersive experience. Wilt's music is so wholly nocturnal in spirit, one suspects that, like Nosferatu, it might wither and die if exposed to sunlight.

December 2006