Thu 13th September 2018
London's Wren have been quietly carving out their own niche since 2015. A split with mathy types Irk, a fantastic Zappa and Beefheart collaboration with Slabdragger and a slew of short releases leads up to this singular, 20-minute release.
Released by the ever-reliable Holy Roar on digital release and on a limited cassette from the excellent Astral Noize, Thrall is an elegant, yet dark affair. Starting subtly with a paced, swirling intro, it sets the dark, morose scene for what is to transpire for the duration.
Wren have fingers in many genre pies, the pulse of post metal leads it, but the spirit of bleak, echoing black metal is there too. As with many Holy Roar releases too, there's a hint of the hardcore in there too.
Witnessed live, Wren pull you into a vortex of uncomfortable truth and a sense of dread. Their early set at ArcTanGent in Bristol did nothing to lift hung over campers, only to compound the agony a little further into the day.
With Thrall, that creeping sense of woe and hopelessness is here in droves. Punching constantly at a minor key, all hope has flown of any redemption throughout. The influence of Neurosis cannot be ignored, however Wren manage to sound wholly original here. The brayed vocals chiming perfectly with the tone, made all the more real by producer Joe Clayton of No Studio, its subtle layered triptych being hewn together by a sonic binding which makes the piece seamless.
The small shifts in sound throughout the piece add up to huge sections that take your breath away. Around the 17-minute mark for example, a huge, dreadnought-sized riff falls in, crushing all in its path. The production here again slams you into speechlessness, incredibly heavy and something to behold.
Wren are one of post metal's latest innovators, one wonders what they are set to spring on us next.
The tape release is rather special too, a limited run of 100, it comes packaged in a screen-printed tote drawstring, perfectly capturing the sheer aesthetic this band go for. Grab one soon, they'll surely not be about for long.