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Wren – “The Herd” (Video Premiere)


It’s a simple trick. You take a still image of a landscape, either natural or man made, and you flip. The sky is down, the ground is up. Trees and buildings hang like stalactites. There’s nothing tricky or complicated about the image. You are being shown something familiar in an unfamiliar way. Your brain knows you are looking at an inverted image, but for a split second your expectations are thrown to the wind. That tiny opening is all that a good artist needs to get to work. It’s no surprise that everyone from Liturgy to Kanye West have used variations of this mirrored image trick in music videos to warp the world around them to their will.

Wren’s music is just as simple and effective as the mirrored images that appear in their video for “The Herd”. Nothing they play on “The Herd” is particularly complicated. You aren’t going to see kids attempting guitar playthroughs of this song on YouTube. That’s a good thing mind you, because what makes a song like good can’t be captured in tablature. “The Herd”, both the song and the video, is powered by repetition and negative space. When Wren pump the brakes on their slow churn, they leave behind a chilling silence. That same chill emanates from the eerie image of an empty sky hovering underneath a forest. The video loops around to these gorgeously filmed black and white landscape shots, distorting them with each repetition. In the final sequence, when the forest goes full kaleidoscope, Wren push a single riff forward with all the force they can muster, earning the Neurosis comparison that has gotten thrown their way since the release of their first EP.

If there’s any glaring flaw with “The Herd” it’s that the human face pales in comparison to the more abstract elements. While there’s nothing technical wrong with Wren’s vocals, they do little to distinguish themselves from the rest of the arrangement. Likewise, the “hooded figure”, a staple of metal videos, is far less compelling than the environment through which they romp.

Wren might not be turning post metal on its head, but “The Herd” shows that they know the right moves. They have all the space they need.

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Follow Wren on Facebook.Their album Auburn Rule is out on July 14th via Holy Roar records, order it here.

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