Odessa, Ukraine’s post-black metal band White Ward’s new album Love Exchange Failure packs a rather exquisitely nuanced musical examination of the crushing pain that runs through the decidedly modern portions of our daily lives. In many ways, we’ve ended up disconnected from our fellow people — even just driving down a road, we’re possibly completely physically isolated and at the same time incredibly vulnerable. From the opening sound samples seemingly drawn straight from a city to the deranged screams that fill in the album’s last minute or so, Love Exchange Failure walks through this at times emotionally desolate, voided wasteland of “interaction.” The piece feels like a eulogy for the ideal of personal connection, whose trampling ultimately stretches well beyond the confines of “modernism.” There’s not an overwhelming “light” here, just the subtly thrilling release of emotion and the satisfaction of a sense of “control” and knowledge of the situation at hand.
Delivering a remarkably cohesive work, White Ward utilize an appropriately broad array of sound to paint their picture of a soul slowly crushed under only increasing modernity. Their album’s opening minutes-long entirely instrumental intro lays jazzy saxophone atop those city sounds, and the “jazz” re-appears at numerous points, including the album’s final minutes. Track four ends up almost entirely a fitting, snaking, noisy haze, and the piano beats that pepper that track and emerge elsewhere have a powerfully “full” tone. Dynamics-wise, the band seriously deliver on their stated ambition to examine the failure of the modern “love exchange,” and through all their experimentation, they consistently come back to an utterly vicious black metal base.
The music packs a sobering reflection of a real detachment from empathy and its effects. Ultimately, the experience here rests in its moment — it’s a human experience to join up with, which the band communicate with the crisp sheen in the midst of this at times utterly relentless hailstorm of music. The gradually unwinding sense of personally felt desolation proves a somberly gripping portrait, demanding attention and contemplation — and at the same time, the album proves fascinatingly musically proficient. What’s not to love?
The full album will be available September 20 via Debemur Morti Productions.
Check some out below.