The uniting theme of my inaugural Evcharist seems to be allusions to the One-Eyed God. So go ahead and raise your horns, grab your walking stick, and let’s journey to ancient times via black metal and mead with Wuodan’s Wunde’s Es glimmt empor aus ewger Nacht and Groennfell’s Old Wayfarer.
The Tunes: Wuodan’s Wunde – Es glimmt empor aus ewger Nacht
Black metal and dungeon synth are no strangers to one another, but with their debut album Wuodan’s Wunde have united the two styles in a very intriguing way — the mysterious artist behind the music composed it on keyboard first, inspired by how he might score film music. Es glimmt empor aus ewger Nacht (It glows upward from eternal Night) is inspired by the Germanic Nibelungen myth, in particular Fritz Lang’s 1924 film adaptation. Linear songwriting, bleak atmosphere, and plenty of pitch-shifted ambience define this album, and it’s not hard to imagine this as the soundtrack for a silent film. Cavernous is a word used to describe a lot of death metal nowadays, yet it’s an apt descriptor here in a different fashion. Rather than a gloomy, dripping cave, this album transports you to long-abandoned subterranean halls, be they Khazad-dûm, Blackreach, or one lost to memory and time. Save for the rare moments of guitar melodies breaking through, walls of chords and blast beats take the backseat to the synths and ambient noise. The closing minutes of “II” and “III” even feature some synthesized string instruments; they sound close to reality, but are uncanny enough to fit in with this atmosphere. With the distinct ambience and imagery evoked by this album it’s a far cry from the standard Summoning-clone you get with this type of black metal, and Wuodan’s Wunde is all the better for it.
The Booze: Groennfell Meadery’s Old Wayfarer
Despite how often it’s referenced in both fantasy and neo-viking media, from The Elder Scrolls to Amon Amarth, I had never experienced real mead. Thankfully a couple years ago an ad from the all-seeing algorithm pointed me in the direction of Groennfell Meadery located in Saint Albans, VT, and they ship nationwide. Given the Gandalf/Odin-like theme I had to try this one out, and it’s since become my favorite of Groennfell’s year-round lineup. Old Wayfarer is heralded as the world’s first amber craft mead, based on a Germanic warrior’s drink; it’s brewed with amber honey, dark sugars, German brewer’s yeast, and aged on toasted white oak. Like other meads I’ve consumed it’s not carbonated, and at first sip it seems a bit watery and sour. Beer being 99% of the alcohol I consume I have to switch gears in terms of what flavors I’m trying to seek out, but slowly they reveal themselves. Sweet molasses with hints of bourbon, and the oak comes through as an aftertaste. It’s very dry and crisp like a hard cider might be, but without the sugar overload that makes you feel like you’ve just had a soda. Meads aren’t meant to be drunk at any one temperature but I think Old Wayfarer is best about 30 minutes out of the fridge; the flavors present themselves a lot more after that. It’s a unique experience to have mead, and I hope this is just the beginning of my sampling journey.
Cheers, and be good to each other