Wijlen Wij – Coronachs Of The Ω

Seven years after their debut album, Belgian doomsters Wijlen Wij, a project involving Kostas Panagiotou, also known as leader of the better-known Pantheist, return. Coronachs Of The Ω is released by Solitude, a genuine hallmark for funeral death doom, and all in all, again, that assumption is not belied despite the Belgian trio’s work being marked by several ups and downs. The opener …Boreas opens the dances indeed as best it could not, thanks to its sounds devoted to the best Skepticism, especially thanks to the keyboard timbre chosen by Kostas: the track is definitely evocative, enthralling, also endowed with relative dynamism, with a splendid central piano break; in short, it possesses everything one would want to hear on such a record; the following Die Verwandlung slows down the pace a lot, alternating good guitar cues with a static sound that its considerable length certainly does not help to improve, a characteristic that is even more evident in Laying Waste To The City Of Jerusalem, an authentic brickbat lacking any melodic outlet that dangerously risks to sink a work born instead under the best auspices. Fortunately, A Solemn Ode To Ruin…, comparable in sonority to Dutch neighbors Officium Triste, although also a bit too dilated, sets things right by displaying atmospheres sufficiently charged with pathos, and the concluding From The Periphery is another decidedly successful track with its own sorrowful and melancholy progression. Coronachs Of The Ω is by far a good record, one that lovers of the genre will certainly appreciate even if, at the end of the listening, the regret remains that we were not able to listen to a work on the whole qualitatively equal to the opening track, and the reason may depend on various factors: the growl of the willing Lawrence Van Haecke proves to be adequate only within the best tracks, while it appears too flat to be incisive when it has to take on a leading role despite itself, as in Laying Waste To The City Of Jerusalem (not bad, on the other hand, on the whole, the clean vocals); the production does not do much to smooth out some imperfections that surface here and there and, in particular, the sound of the lead guitar, often capable of brilliant melodic insights, is not enhanced to the fullest. At the end of the day, the feeling one gets from listening to Coronachs Of The Ω is that Wijlen Wij are the other side of the Pantheist coin: as much the sound of the former remains rooted in tradition, retaining that vintage aura that may have its own charm but also appear hopelessly dated, as much as the stylistic evolution of the latter has been pushed perhaps to excess by the good Kostas, ending up pushing them far beyond the recognized boundaries of the most canonical doom. In between there remains a territory vast enough to be further successfully explored by various bands, and there is no doubt that Wijlen Wij may be among them in the future.

2014 – Solitude Productions