W.A.I.L.: W.A.I.L. (2011 Reissue)

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W.A.I.L.: W.A.I.L. (2011 Reissue)
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W.A.I.L.: W.A.I.L.
Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions
March 8th, 2011
Release length: 47:07
W.A.I.L., which stands for “Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy”, formed back in 2006 in Finland. The four piece, like many Black Metal acts in the unsigned and underground scenes, hide their names, using only initials to associate themselves with the music. The original version of W.A.I.L. had been issued through the band as a vinyl release, but eventually the group signed to Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions and found their 2009 self-titled effort getting the full CD treatment. Many reviews by those dedicated to the underground have praised the band’s brutal atmospheric Metal conceptual, and with the band’s recent signing and reissuing of W.A.I.L., it’s only a matter of time before the group’s follow-up effort is released. But, just how much of an impact does this effort truly have?

Standing at five tracks long, and around forty seven minutes in length, W.A.I.L. feels like the perfect musical interpretation of the band’s name, and not just as an anogram. “Wisdom” feels more like a beastly track that takes a Black Metal atmosphere to it’s more Doom Metal slower pace and bludgeoning sound. The deeper gutterals and other vocal performances of the track don’t quite meet up with the appropriate atmosphere that causes listeners to wait for a horrific wail to belt out in one form or another, such as human or otherwise. However, when you look at the track list, it spells out that same acronym as the band’s name stands for, and it really doesn’t seem to fit the title of the song, being set better for “Agony”, whereas “Agony” feels more suiting to “Wisdom” to it’s slower, march like state, spoken word vocals that sometimes feel like a chanting performance, and the additional instrument [that I believe to be] djembe in the background at times, feeling more like incense should be burnt for a spirit trip of self realization.

Musically, each track on this release that resembles the W.A.I.L. retains some common group with the word, but shares more with the overall emotion of “wail” to begin with. Much of this release does retain a crushing feeling to it, but at the same time, many songs just feel like a sharp wailing of an inhuman creation. Of course, the first song, “Initiation” is not part of the anagram, and is meant as the introduction to the album, taking on the literal definition of the song’s title. This instrumental piece feels more like a ritualistic approach to capture the definition of the word, and it sets a nice start to the album, as well as a promising realization of things to come towards the band’s name in their music, but sadly never does seem fully reached. The only song that doesn’t quite feel that way was is the song “Illumination”, which is a much more upbeat and intense track that takes more of a general Black Metal idea with Death Metal undertones then Doom Metal, giving it life instead of making it feel like a dying gasp of breath in a response to the pain, all in a good manner of course. Of course, the song is not bad, and it does resemble the feeling of being illuminated, though it would have felt better following the “Wisdom” instead of “Agony” since those two tracks feel like they had been given the wrong titles, though “Agony” does manage to stay on par somewhat with the title and what it actually means. Of course, the vibe of “Lunacy” is just right, continuing the more upbeat and intense crushing atmosphere that “Illumination” set up, though never really going too far with the music to portray an actual loss of sanity, which really would have been a nice to the closing chapter of this release.

When you take each track by the word it represents, the songs feel like they miss the chance to really explore that song’s environment and set a fantastic matching atmosphere. As a whole to anagram, it’s not bad either, often capturing a beastly cry that represents a “wail”. However, when you look at these songs as just songs, and not as the words of the anagram, or the self exploratory manner outlined by the press release, then yes, it’s actually really good. Each song on here carries it’s own crushing atmosphere, whether that’s due to the slow and dismal Doom Metal influence, or the intense and quicker, more upbeat (not in lightheartedness, but rather just not as crushing or dismal) Death Metal interpretations added to the Black Metal foundation of the release, each song is different, interesting, and highly entertaining. They do seem to stick within the same overall flow in the music, as well as even with the sound, making it clear this is meant to be a conceptual piece either way. The rather raw production of the recording adds incentive to the murky elements of the songs, such as the more tribal elements of “Illumination” and “Lunacy”, as well as overall with the rest of the music.


W.A.I.L. was originally released by the band, and, as stated, the band signed to Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions, which reissued the album on CD instead of vinyl for 2011. The reason that there needs to be clarification of this, is because the material is not quite the same. The original pressing was a self-financed vinyl by the band, whereas the 2011 reissue through Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions is being issued on a CD, as well as has been altered by the label to have an improved mastering, as well as some expanded artwork. Unfortunately, I have not heard the original vinyl release, and cannot find samples of that recording on-line for comparison, and the label did not specify how dynamically different the artwork will be. This recording’s production quality feels very sharp, and since the mastering of this edition has been improved, one can only assume that it’s probably from the improved mastering, and the original was a little more raw and rougher.


W.A.I.L. is an impressive piece of Metal, and for what the concept was, it does stand out, as there aren’t really a lot of Black Metal releases that are honestly self-explorations, but rather simply a self-expression. It’s clear a lot of time and thought went into the whole concept of this release, but at the sazme time it feels the band failed to recognize the potential of this, perhaps not exploring in the right ways to come up with a proper expression of their souls for the words that makes up the band’s monicker. If you look at it as a self-expression instead of a self-exploration, it becomes a little more enjoyable, but some of the nagging issues still remain. However, nothing can really explain or make up for the “Wisdom” and “Agony” feeling as if they were swapped and no one noticed, or perhaps even cared. I personally compared notes of track lengths to articles on the internet to make sure the playlist wasn’t mixed up in any way, or the promotional copy came with the wrong track list. Either way, it’s a good start, and W.A.I.L. has a promising idea. Now, if they can really focus on that idea and turn their already impressive, soul crushing music into something that can best present that missed opportunity on future releases, them the Metal community can truly be impressed.

01. Initiation – 2:57
02. Widsom – 10:18
03. Agony – 9:41
04. Illumination – 10:54
05. Lunacy – 13:14
Overall Score: 8/10
W.A.I.L. (Band)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions.