For the past several years, a musical smog has been rising from beneath the historic and well traversed streets of St Petersburg. A subtle one, but one that’s notably dense, a pollution to the soul - and to the right person - darkly enticing. As those who have sought the source of such a phenomena will undoubtedly know, such a blemishing effluvium is the work of the Russian post-metal outsiders Wowod. A collective born in the relentless sunless winters of the great Russian expanse and a band raised amongst the mire of miserable chemical excess, Wowod are the sound of the darkly inspired Russian youth fully that are conscious of the corruptive filth that’s not just rife within St. Petersburg, but the world as a whole.
Formed just after the midway point of the last decade, Wowod offer a devastating shade of fatalist musical extremity that articulates the woe of life, the despair of the inevitable downfall and the futility that comes with searching for purpose within our ultimately feeble lifespans. Their two previously released full lengths (Nutro and Zemlya respectively) introduced their paramagnetic approach to viciously grim dynamism with both manic fervour and intimidating determinism. Taking the tectonic nature of impenetrable post-metal and using it as their foundation, the monolith of sound that is Wowod’s output sways menacingly from celestially ethereal doomgaze to lacerating blackened d-beat fury all whilst standing eternal. Atmospheric electronics crackle and dissonant vocals bellow under the sheer weight, sending blinding shockwaves through their work. It’s a mesmeric display of uncompromising blackened fusion that heralds themes of misery and obsession, one that awarded has the band with hushed praise over the past several years.
Despite the Wowod being met with applause across the Eastern European territories and beyond, 2021 is set to be their biggest year as a band so far. Released January 29th via Church Road Records, their new record and first international release Yarost' I Proshchenie is set to see that aforementioned miasma strengthen in potency and travel to distant lands in order to stain the fabric of our very being. A record that see’s the band further refining their musical palette with even more dramatic shades and one that conjures thoughts of Respire, Cult Leader, Conjurer, Cult Of Luna and Sumac at their most defiling, Yarost’ I Proschenie is a totally otherworldly creation that’s both heavenly and hellish. A true snapshot of the outside youth sick to the stomach of the revulsion of toxic existence.
With the record out this Friday, we got in touch with the band to discover their ideology, influences and the meanings within the maelstrom that is Yarost’ I Proschenie.
For those new to Wowod, how would you briefly describe yourselves?
"We are a band that favours making music in our own way, without any formal musical training influencing our way of working."
Yarost’ | Proschenie is your first record to be released internationally. How are feeling about the release?
"For us this is a new stage in our musical journey and we are ready to show people what we have in store. It was a pretty difficult story with the release of this album, we had been planning to self-release but there were many delays and changes to our plans. We are glad that Church Road Records showed interest in the record and that more people will be able to hear it. Our friends are saying that it deserves to be heard."
There’s a lot of elements within your sound, including black metal, d-beat, post-metal and even shoegaze. How do you approach incorporating so many elements into your sound?
"They are a combination of all the different genres we like, although our preference usually leans more towards the heavy side of things. That being said, we definitely don't want to be prisoners to one genre. We want to be able to write whatever we want to. For example, the music of bands like Swans or Liturgy, to us it cannot be described as only one genre, apart from the broad banner of avant-garde. We view our music in the same way."
"St. Petersburg is built on a swamp and remains as a mental swamp. It magically attracts creative people from all over Russia and often people drown in it."
What are you primary inspirations, both musically and culturally?
"We are looking for inspiration in other people's creativity and their nature, probably like many other artists do. It can be architecture, people, video games, paintings, music, etc. The image you like always wants to be ‘redrawn’ with your soul in a new form, from which it becomes a new image."
There’s a real sense of despair and tension within the record, could you elaborate on the lyrical themes running trough the record?
"All the lyrics are mainly concentrated around certain feelings a person experiences during various situations in life. For example, everyone has definitely felt rage, but how it occurs for one person can be completely different to that of someone else. Also, the album touches upon themes of manic obsession and the eternal question of a person’s purpose in life. There is a certain collective image of a mystical black, one might even say occult energy. The presence of which, many people feel under certain circumstances, but cannot give an explanation for."
How did your home city of St Petersburg help inspire the creation of the record?
"The city influences not only the album, but our creativity itself. St. Petersburg is built on a swamp and remains as a mental swamp. It magically attracts creative people from all over Russia and often people drown in it because of the low drug prices and the large number of pubs. From October to February there is a period when the sun can only be seen a couple of times a month. It is psychologically difficult to experience. Perhaps this is the reason for the perception of beauty in such dark colours."
Finally, what do you want listeners and fans to take away from the new record?
"We would like to convey an overall vibe on the album so that it can be interpreted as one story. Show that feelings like fury and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin. It doesn't matter whether the track is fast and furious or slow and meditative, all of it has one common message - after a storm, there will always be calm."