Wicked King Wicker - Evolving [Cold Spring Records - 2013]UK based label Cold Spring presents Evolving by Wicked King Wicker. The New York based duo of Jim Gibson and Logan Butler have been melding doom and noise since the mid/late 2000’s and Evolving represents their 7th studio album.
The cover art presented on Evolving is by The Residents’ regular designer Steve Cerio. The full color piece by Cerio looks like a wicked christmas tree adorned with trinkets and haunting faces. The centerpiece of the art is a green head staring us down, which has a striking resemblance to a gremlin from the Zemeckis film.
On Evolving, Wicked King Wicker offer 4 lengthy tracks of blackened doom noise and thick dark drone. The disc’s opening track “The Devil Must Learn the Limitations of the Host” melds menacing guitar induced reverberations and cold, guttural vocals buried under a heavy heap of noisy detritus. The piece moves like an airplane taking off from the depths of hell, leveling everything in it’s ascent. Once there is lift off we’re left with an engulfing black mass…..pulsing and swelling, degrading into heavy rumble, swirling noise and electronic chirps.
The appropriately titled “A Prayer for Death” is a sixteen minute funeral march punctuated by high-pitched feedback and deep repetitive percussion. Flickering noise and perceptible static crackle weave through the epic piece. Haunting and tribal, just focus and let it sink in. By far the most memorable track for me on this disc.
The penultimate track “Zen and the Art of Nihilism” is fetid stew of bassy percussion, noisy pulses and insectoid chirping. If the summoning of a singing mass of cicadas isn’t enough to entrance the listener into a zen-like state, there is also some perceptible vocal and guitar work fighting from being engulfed by the swarm. The final track “The High Exalted Nothing” takes us out on a wave of blackened guitar drone, noisy reverberations, percussions and vocals that sound close to reptilian hisses.
Cold Spring has really been killing it this year with quality releases and Evolving is no exception. What better way to spread the holiday cheer than these four slabs of epic doom and gloom?Hal Harmon