Wóddréa Mylenstede’s debut album, Créda Beaducwealm, which appeared in June, seems like a magnum opus because there’s been nothing else for so long. The last we’d heard of this wretched English black metal—beyond the initial two demos and Raw Rehearsal—was the three-year-old congregation with another obscurest, Portugal’s Black Cilice. Few metalheads could handle Wóddréa Mylenstede’s state of low fidelity. And after three years, who could honestly care? Créda Beaducwealm is a welcome return to rare abject black metal.
Wóddréa Mylenstede translates to “Demon Mill,” and that’s if you can manage to decipher their illegible scribble. No individuals are credited for their work in the project. A short-lived black noise project, Remores, is their previous incarnation. Yet, an affinity for Old English drove Wóddréa Mylenstede to George Proctor’s Legion Blotan—a black metal label that is sloven, orotund, and enthralling with a cast of demos set in Northern England. With Legion Blotan’s roster, Wóddréa Mylenstede could be Proctor (famed for his White Medal project, the label’s centerpiece) or his collaborator Gareth Howells of Axnaar. Realistically, Wóddréa Mylenstede could be whoever else was escaping the lo-fi black punk fad of the early 2010s and stumbled into Northumbria.
Créda Beaducwealm’s cover is an austere drawing of a shrouded skeleton coming over a black (perhaps burial) mound. The skeleton stands over bones amidst a sky marked with a bird’s outline. The “demon mill” is emblematic of this scene. No wonder Créda Beaducwealm translates to “creed of violent death.” But the burial mound’s symbol alludes to what’s behind Wóddréa Mylenstede’s mystery. The scene is crude—a further regression from their past releases.
Demo I was a scrawl. The monochromatic charnel house extended into Demo I, which was cut through with cacophonous static. By Raw Rehearsal, Wóddréa Mylenstede returned to the burial mound, a prominence without Créda Beaducwealm’s skull but contoured like a cairn, also believed to have historically contained the dead. Finally, an audible Demo III gives us a photograph that depicts a hovel with two living children staring at the camera. The boy and girl, the latter’s eyes blotted out, are destitute bumpkins at the point of starvation. There are three words that are printed on Demo III: “Birth. Toil. Death.” Wóddréa Mylenstede’s subject is the senseless path of life, death, and returning to kill some more.
“Hygecraeft (Eardgiefu)” lets out a scream reverberating against an incessant march. The guitar plucks a few notes repeating against the awkward and ominous wails. This lethargic song on hedgecraft, a branch of Neopagan herbalism to hedge/cross the boundary into the spirit world, doesn’t have the same haggard drive Wóddréa Mylenstede is known for. “Hygecraeft” is an uncanny grunge jam that for five minutes is a complement to that shrouded skeleton. As a finale, “Hygecraeft” attains the immensity of a detail in Brueghel’s Triumph of Death.
“You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” Beckett-ian compulsion drives Créda Beaducwealm—just add slaughter. “Hreómóde Blódgéotend” is a manic-depressive stab at futility, turning to rancor only to exhaust itself. The vocals placate between rasps and Wóddréa Mylenstede’s notorious howls that, against the recording quality, transform into wolf-like timbre. Initially, the track’s bellicose strums are an entry Proctor employed on White Medal’s debut, Guthmers Hahl. Warmongering is an odd fit for Wóddréa Mylenstede’s one-two pogo stomp. The beat is more baleful in its delicacy, and this project conjures an eerie brutality.
“Werbeámas Haeden Gilda”’s heraldic miasma is an improvement over Wóddréa Mylenstede’s tepid demos. Créda Beaducwealm is not a return to Bone Awl’s lightweight metal. Guitar and drum-kit are discernible amidst the invigorating haze, hinting at Burzum’s early “Lost Wisdom”—that first stab at a black metal bereft of hi-tech amps and pricey guitars. Créda Beaducwealm has a stately low fidelity.
Unfortunately, as is the nature of obscure gems, Wóddréa Mylenstede’s Créda Beaducwealm will probably be passed over in silence. It’s not an album that comes off as gaudy, instead dwelling on the bleak brass tacks that drive the six songs. We are more than halfway through 2016 and there are few who would go to Wóddréa Mylenstede’s lengths to return to black metal’s catalyst: barbarous recordings soaring with morose heroism. Wóddréa Mylenstede’s Créda Beaducwealm is not a regression, as it finds its power in drinking black metal’s lifeblood from the source.
Créda Beaducwealm quickly sold out from both Legion Blotan and Altare Productions (Portugal).
01) Hreómóde Blódgéotend
02) Mearrweard Dócincel
03) Léafa Súslbana
04) Werbeámas Haeden Gilda
06) Hygecraeft (Eardgiefu)