“Polku”: Qwälen’s Black Metal Follows a Path of Enraptured Descent (Video Premiere)
Qwälen's punk-laden black metal, like much of the overarching genre, could be described as "cold": sharp guitar tones transcend brightness into lacerating distortion and raw screams wash across them like frosty gusts of wind. But while coldness often implies a deadness, or at least an icy separation, their upcoming album Unohdan Sinut pulses with life: the sickening heartbeat of a maladjusted being, perhaps, but life nonetheless that draws the listener close enough to detect the pallid sheen of its flesh. At that distance, the chorused tremolo riffing that constructs these songs sticks in the mind, almost like being possessed—it will require significant relistening to exorcise. We're premiering the music video for a new single "Polku" (which means 'the trail') -- check it out, but don't let your mind wander from its path.
The discordant harmony between the elements of the band is invigorating: against a steady, pulsing beat, dual guitars play off each other with enough breathing room to widen their impact while the bass rages in the center, noisily and unforgettably delivering motifs. It's rather hypnotic, actually, which is only reinforced by the video's unfolding depiction of a woman ominously making her way to, and then melting the brain of, a dubiously willing victim.
The blood running through the veins of Unohdan Sinut is just as black and foul as any other black metal entity, but the band opens up those veins, spilling forth fiery melodicism that exposes its blackened soul in a surprisingly intimate manner. Maybe it's just those devilish earworms still nesting in my brain, but what lies at the end of "Polku"'s trail seems to be almost comforting, bleeding eyes be damned.
From the band:
Third track from the album and the track is called THE TRAIL. Lyrically the song deals with the mindset of being lost. The trail always leads somewhere and Satan is always along the path we all take. Riffs are rather inspired by Finnish black metal and out of all songs this has become a band favourite to play live. Echoes of later-era Sacrilegious Impalement, Korgonthurus and Svarttjern can be heard in the riff work.
Video was filmed with our friends from Oulu.
Unohdan Sinut releases on February 19th, 2021 via Time To Kill Records.