The AI secretly running this site reminded me that my Post Metal review quota doesn’t meet the required expectations for this quarter yet. This could have been a problem, because the wall of monolithic monumentality usually built in this genre often tends to feel a bit stale and tiring on studio albums to me. Fortunately the Norwegians Dwaal recently released their second album - and it doesn’t fall into this category.
Being totally honest, while the kinship of this sextet to groups like Cult of Luna, Neurosis and all their spiritual descendants cannot be denied, there is one other influence so obviously interwoven with their presence on Never Enough that Dark Essence Records didn’t even bother to mention it in their promotional text. No matter if you focus on the riffs, the gnarly bass tone or the vocal performance of Bjørnar Kristiansen, this album has the pitch black nihilistic Doom Death Metal darkness of Thomas Gabriel Fischer’s Triptykon written all over it.
However there is a not completely unrealistic possibility that those similarities at least partly arose not so much from aware inspiration, but developed rather naturally due to the context in which the album was made. Maybe there’s a certain threshold of calamities, after which your sound just has to turn to the dark side in this way. And catastrophes there were a lot: Unsurprisingly the pandemic caused a booking deal and shows all over Europe to be cancelled, but then the band also lists one rehearsal room eviction, one rehearsal room flooding, two covid-related layoffs, three breakups, five mental breakdowns, five hospitalisations and one near-death experience as circumstances trying to stop their sophomore work from happening.
But despite all that here it is! It’s evident that a lot of steam had to be let off during its recording, since apart from few moments of quieter (yet still tension-filled) instrumental Post Rock elevation all the built-up anger can be felt deep in every sludgy pore. Brute force and aggression however never overshadow the songwriting, but are always unleashed in fitting measures, thus working in its favour.
Of course there are many releases coming out all the time, which technically are quite similar, sporting this kind of epic larger than life wrathful heaviness paired with spacious synths on top to carry it in every corner of the bleak horizon. But Dwaal have found a certain bitterly grim yet still credible tone of presenting this formula that just grips me tighter and holds my attention much safer than most other comparable artists.
The mandatory exercise of picking a favourite among the five tracks feels almost random here, as they are all equally strong. I could have picked the opener “All Masters, All Servants” for how it elegantly dismantles itself, “Pseudanthium Aionios” for its bass rumbling like an intestinal wind leaving Galactus’ behind, Leichenhalle for its examplary correct German pronunciation or the closing title track “You Will Never Be Enough” for its stubborn unwillingness to let go and really hammering home its message. I ultimately chose “Repentance of a Bastard”, just because it is as awesome as the rest, only a bit longer.
Frankly the sole thing not quite enough for me about Never Enough is the mildly underwhelming cover artwork. That’s it. But other than that: What a killer! This album stirs your blood, freezes your stank face and reaches out to embrace you and wallow in existential angst together.