Impure Wilhelmina, a band from Geneva, Switzerland, released a new album today (July 7th, 2017). According to the about section of their Facebook page, they have been “Creating dark and heavy anthems since 1996”, but this album, entitled Radiation, is their first on the Seasons of Mist label; it is also the first I had heard of them. There are so many elements to what they do; influences of black metal, some doom, metal, some progressive (and many more), and is moving, melodic, and heavy…..usually all at the same time.
A little background on the band is that they were assembled back in 1996 by singer/guitarist Michael Schindl, and has a number of line-up changes over the years that have allowed them to evolve with each new release. Originally, they were more of a post-hardcore band, but the years went by and they matured and changed sounds; something all bands that have any hope of remaining relevant must do.
Radiation is an album that draws you in as you listen to it. There a few songs that stood out as I listened through it, but each song is excellent.. “Torn”, the 4th track, has so a great lead in, and once the song kicks in is just amazing. Fast picked guitar notes that still have a sense of melody, with no sense that it’s just fast for the sake of being fast. The chorus is so memorable, with lyrics that show the duality of man. “Into the forest to rejoice with myself, Up to the mountains become someone else, Towards the stars I travel in my dreams, Leaving this world where no one hears you scream”. This, to me, says that while life can be painful, you can still change and make it how you want it…a message I feel that everyone could use hearing. “Sacred Fire”, and “Meaningless Memories”, are two other songs that are worthy of pointing out. Both employ some great guitar work, and have the benefits of some excellent songwriting. “Meaningless Memories” has an extended instrumental intro, and even though those types of intros can seem tedious, it is not the case here. It has enough changes, but not too many, to keep it interesting while the song builds up to the vocals coming in.
Overall, this is a solid album. I wasn’t expecting what I heard on this release, but was happy to hear the sounds within. I knew before I did some research that they were European, and actually had thought Sweden due to a Subvisions (an early band of Tobias Forge from Ghost B.C) type sound. Europeans have a definite sound, and way of writing, that American bands just don’t have, which helps make for an interesting listen. So if you like European bands and great music that doesn’t sit within one genre the whole time, then you should check out Impure Wilhelmina’s Radiation. You will be glad you did.