Sunday 7 April 2024

Wolf Lichen - Empyreal Alpine Lysergy

Labels: Self-Released/Fiadh Productions/GreySun Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 18 Aug 2023


1. Blooming Into Light

2. A Vision Of Eternity In Spectral Light

3. A Transfiguration Forever Unfolding

4. Currents Of Matter

I'm being pulled towards new music again, especially after my most recent review of the new EP from Crossed. This debut EP from US cascadian, anarchist black metal band Wolf Lichen was self-released last August before getting a tape release via US label GreySun Records in November. April 5th saw the  release of the latest tape pressing of Empyreal Alpine Lysergy, coming from fellow US label Fiadh Productions. 

Made up of Letharian Rays on bass and rhythm guitars (of Anaximander, Stare), Dire Wolfkin on drums and lead guitars (of Kneipegeist, Eleusis) and Blaidd Ysgaswen who provides session vocals (of Exulansis, Carrion Bloom), Wolf Lichen have dedicated this release and passed any funds from digital sales to the People of Red Mountain who are fighting to save Thacker Pass/Peehee Mu'huh from the desecration of their homelands by mining companies.

Stepping away from the imagery and lyricism of more traditional black metal is something that’s taken hold over recent years. Satan, anti-religious sentiment and church burning are all fine topics (I’m not religious at all, in case you hadn’t noticed) but other more divisive ones like racism are not. The rise of anarchist (or red) black metal continues at pace and US trio Wolf Lichen are another name to add to the growing list. Beginning their debut EP with ‘Blooming Into Light’, the gentle acoustic/folk guitar and percussion reminds me of Twilight Fauna to a degree. It’s only an intro piece but it’s a beautiful one.

Following a brief pause, Wolf Lichen launches into ‘A Vision Of Eternity In Spectral Light’ and for the first time you hear the full intent of the band. It’s true that it contains all of the musical trappings of black metal but the cascadian sound really breaks through with an earthiness that’s often missing from the sub-genre. It’s a lengthy song that moves between blasting passages and more atmospheric instrumental ones, while the excellent vocals play their part in adding to that atmosphere.

‘A Transfiguration Forever Unfolding’ is an epic all of it’s own, given that it stretches well beyond the ten-minute mark. I’m all for expansive black metal songs and there’s plenty to get lost in here. Wolf Lichen prove beyond doubt that they’re excellent song-writers and performers. The melodies that are woven into their guitar work, the subtle rhythm guitar and bass, the on-point drums and vocal delivery back that up. We’re not even at the final song yet either!

EP closer ‘Currents Of Matter’ is another stirring instrumental piece that’s brimming with the sound of the trees and nature. It grows in volume as it reaches a final conclusion, making you think that Wolf Lichen are going to burst into life once again. No such thing happens though and instead the instrumental tones draw to an inevitable end. I’m so glad that I chose to spend the time listening to this release. It’s excellent from beginning to end and it deserves much more attention. 

You can stream and purchase Empyreal Alpine Lysergy digitally from Wolf Lichen below, with all digital process going to the People Of Red Mountain:-

Tape copies are available from GreySun Records here -

Tapes from Fiadh Productions are available here -

Fiadh Productions -

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