Back in April I had the pleasure to write a premiere for the fine noisy folk going by the moniker W!ZARD, and already there and then I said that I simply have to pick the upcoming EP for a closer scrutiny and review it. So here we are, and here we go.
Granted that my trek to the world of noise rock and what it entails is relatively juvenile all things considered, I’ve begun to recognize what it is that I’m looking for in that genre, and slowly but surely picked up the ability to separate between what tickles me just right and what doesn’t – subjectively speaking of course. I think it’s the style’s ingrained versatility and tendency to transform and transcend any and all boundaries a genre tag might place on the artists that makes it enjoyable for me. This kind of experimental aesthetic speaks to me elsewhere as well, and the more I think about it, the more obvious the reasoning behind my sudden plunge to this particular sonic realm becomes. Of course there’s been an immense amount of bands that just fly over my head, as one can assume, but then again, the discoveries have been thoroughly rewarding, and such is the case with W!ZARD.
The French rockers are releasing their new EP Definitely Unfinished on June 4, and even though it spans only five tracks and might thus feel short at first glance, there’s so much substance to it that in the end, it’s rather difficult to even complain about it. The songs create a thought-out dramatic structure, and – contrary to its name – the release definitely doesn’t feel unfinished. In fact, there’s so much apparent expertise and compositional prowess on the EP that it’s nothing short of staggering to learn that it’s only the band’s second effort to date, the first one being a self-titled album from 2018.
“The One I Blame” rings in with a discordant guitar lead, and with the addition of driving tom pulse and floaty vocals, the atmosphere stays intense and dismal throughout the first half of the track, after which the trajectory shifts into more hectic territory. The latter part of the opener is like a dance between more emotional rearing and noise-laden, rough sequences. In other words, “The One I Blame” is one hell of a start, demonstrating the band’s diversity and ability to introduce a vast scope of varying elements to their output right from the start. The following track, “Bones”, continues on a similar path, throwing a ton of seemingly random components towards the listener, yet somehow they all stick and form a coherent musical narrative, from the upbeat indie vibes to the pulsating, chaotic passages and whatever else. The outro portion is something completely its own, being downright post-rock with all its floating and mellow, crescendo-esque characteristics. This moment is easily the most beautiful one on the release, and albeit it might sound quite wanton, it just clicks in perfectly. Take my word for it.
Precisely in the middle of the more constructed tracks, there’s “Dead Space”, directing the focus to a warmer ambiance for a good while. Even though this one also bursts into a jarring, rigid, and sludgy beating in the end, it plays the part of something resembling a transition in the grand scheme of things, while still being very much a concrete song, and a damn good one at that. After a moment of quiet, “Quick Violence” returns to the haunting feel introduced on the first track, meanwhile being quite the musical counterpart to its name. I talked about intensity earlier on, and that aspects proves to be a dominating factor on Definitely Unfinished as an entirety, this and the previous tracks being the best examples of the kind of tonally absorbing tableau W!ZARD are able to draw out of thin air.
Closing up with “Fears”, the song certainly has a sense of conclusion to it, but instead of lowering themselves to repeat the standard motifs that closing tracks tend to have, W!ZARD keeps things loud and ragged until the end. Sure, there’s a few minutes’ worth of somewhat of rhythmic noise and feedback to top everything off, but it feels warranted and even downright necessary, what with the song running for over nine minutes and all. Once the last buzzes and gasps fade out, you’re left compelled to start all over and circle back to the beginning, after which you’ll notice you’re caught up in an endless loop, a hellish ouroboros if you will, of the band’s creation.
And what are we left with once Definitely Unfinished is, well, definitely finished? The results may vary, but I sport a satisfied mindset, ravaged ears, and a full heart. The EP is filled to the brim with highs and lows that are equally gripping, and even though the lyrical message isn’t exactly a jolly one, W!ZARD still manages to leave a positive aftertaste. I think this is one of those ‘something for everyone‘ type of efforts, but instead of lapsing to a territory where it’d be a complete mess, it’s a cohesive and tumultuous performance where all of its distinct flavours and antithetic elements blend together seamlessly. It’s not too artistic to comprehend, nor is it too blunt to enjoy – it’s something in between, treading the golden mean with no missteps along the way. A really fucking good release is what it is.