It’s no secret that Blake Green of Idaho-based experimental black/doom duo Wolvserpent keeps quite busy with his musical endeavors. With his long-running personal project Aelter, Green has explored sparser sounds, often influenced by Americana and country music. On Aelter’s fourth offering, IV: Love Eternal, the project has offered up something staggeringly huge yet vastly empty at the same time, much like the endless roads that travel across much of the midwestern United States.
There were always noticeable elements of lush guitar tones and slow, somber weight to Aelter’s music, but the funereal presence of choral sounds and sheer massiveness of sound elevates IV: Love Eternal‘s forty minutes to another level. Each of these songs tends to follow a similar pattern to its peers, yet each stands on its own in a way. Starting things off is an introductory track that actually sets the pace properly instead of adding a pointless minute or two of ambiance. Hovering synths, plodding bass, and airy guitar lines linger gently over a backdrop of barely-there percussion, welcoming in an album of endlessness. Each titled song focuses on eternity in its own way and captures some aspect of this timeless essence.
In a way, the journey Aelter follows is consistently uplifting, despite the drab, doom-paced approach to this whole album. From “Death Eternal,” Green uses this album to move into “Life Eternal,” “Love Eternal,” and finally “Hope Eternal.” It’s of note that none of these songs really seems to end nearly as much as they tend to fade out and back into the nothingness from which they slowly crawled. There’s something to be said for this continuity, as any one of these songs could be set to loop on its own and feel like a wholly realized offering in one way or another. In “Death Eternal,” there’s a sense of mournful resignation, crooned slowly over the haunting sonic backdrop in a way that brings to mind the gospel-influenced leanings of mid-2000s Nick Cave, were he to be reborn as more of a nomad and less of a tortured artist. There’s a world-weary characteristic that endures from song to song, an exhaustion that seems to lead Green ever onward towards love and the comfort of eternal life after death. Perhaps I’m reading this incorrectly, but I just feel a deeper connection between the artist and art than a simple aesthetic choice. While Aelter retains and modifies the cover art that has driven its three prior releases, the image seems to be one of pure reverence.
The beauty conveyed on this album grows with each listen. While I may have initially found myself unable to discern these songs, I now find myself slowing down and reflecting more with each new visit. From crisp and clear drumming to the gothic country leanings of the guitars, I haven’t heard anything like this lately and likely won’t hear anything like it any time soon. This album is scheduled for a double LP release on April 20th, courtesy of Pesanta Urfolk. Heal yourself with IV: Love Eternal in its proper format and enjoy its growth over time. Noisey is currently streaming the title track, so go on over and check it out.