The Boise duo of Blake Green and Brittany McConnell have been assaulting known boundaries and expanding horizons with their meditative, often tumultuous sonic invocations for just over a decade. The transition from operating under the moniker of Pussygutt to that of Wolvserpent around 2010 did not necessarily find the band making any drastic seismic shifts in approach or execution, but the birth of Wolvserpent seemed to be an incremental step toward including heavier passages to complement the band’s proficiency at sustaining contemplative tension—a potent formula that was fully realized on 2013’s Perigaea Antahkarana and the equally stunning seedling of a demo, Perigaea. Both releases found the duo deftly balancing between moments of breathtaking beauty and unmitigated existential terror. As the three-pronged title suggests, Aporia:Kāla:Ananta is, appropriately, a completely different journey altogether. Whereas Perigaea Antahkarana was an exploration of classical elements, Aporia:Kāla:Ananta pursues a more primeval state or, in opposition, a future fate at the end result of ultimate cosmic decline. Either way, Aporia:Kāla:Ananta carries with it the distinction of being Wolvserpent’s grimmest, most unsettling work to date.
Wolvserpent’s mastery of tension and release is one of the main reasons Perigaea Antahkarana, notably among their other works, is such an engaging listen and has retained its admirable longevity. There are lulls embedded in the music’s chasms that are often incredibly beautiful, while others express depths encompassing sheer horror. Oftentimes, these disparate elements occupy the same space. Aporia:Kāla:Ananta, in direct opposition to its predecessor, almost exclusively operates while poised precariously on the edge of a razor. The forty minutes that comprise Aporia:Kāla:Ananta are an exercise in tension with virtually no release—just a sustained mood of intensifying anxiety. The band has not attained this level of mounting dread since 2008’s She Hid Behind Her Veil, recorded as Pussygutt, though that album successfully paired the rising dread with an unshakable melancholia. No, even the suggestion of a respite a quarter way through the track after an intense, blackened tumult is betrayed by unsettling bow bounces, crashing waves, and rising synth washes that gradually succumbs to a distant, low-end growl of distortion accompanied by Green’s tormented guttural exclamations.
It’s very nearly impossible to fathom the depths of despair and anxiety that would be associated with a never-ending state of abysmal, void-like solitude when accompanied with even the mere suggestion of consciousness, but Wolvserpent comes terrifyingly close to making that state of existence a reality. In many ways, Aporia:Kāla:Ananta is less accessible than Perigaea Antahkarana, but this is mainly due to the singular vision that is stretched out for the sole track’s forty-minute duration. Aporia:Kāla:Ananta is also marginally more sparse than its predecessor, though it does not quite reach the minimalist drone tendencies that largely defined the duo as Pussygutt. Aporia:Kāla:Ananta, with its persistent unease, is a challenging release, but one that is both immersive and engaging on many levels—qualities that have come to define Wolvserpent’s work.