“The Devil Is Alive (feat. Blood Estate)” sets such a delicate opening tone for Wulven’s latest album, I Have Seen The End and It Is Beautiful. It’s a beautiful synthetic lullaby. Plodding synth chords, muted and subtle, underpin the track, which is laden with glossy, glorious synth leads that take the listener to another plane of existence. The vocals on this track are so fitting — gentle and emotive, even though they simply serve the purpose of being another instrumental layer in the song. They don’t impose themselves on the listener. They’re washed out and dreamy. This is a spectacularly ambient introduction to Wulvn’s new release. It certainly feels like a much gentler and calmer song than the title would suggest.

And the good songs don’t stop there. “hell is not a place” might be another track that evokes devilish imagery in the name, but it’s far from being a dark piece of music. A cold and desolate piece of music, perhaps, but there’s no anger or terror in Wulven’s music from my perspective — only heartbreaking sadness. I suppose, to some, that can feel like Hell. I’m blown away by the grand synth swells on this track which surround every inch of the room. It feels like some of M83’s earlier work to my ears. A grandiose atmosphere is created by huge, crashing synth notes that land with emotion. Wulven’s washed-out vocals, once again, add a layer of beauty and atmosphere to this ambient track.

BANDCAMP: https://wulven.bandcamp.com/

The second half of the album is full of transfixing tunes too. “doom gaze socialism” opens with hauntingly stark synth swells — it’s so hard to tell what lies in the stunningly murky mess of this track but somehow it works and creates a symbiotic relationship. So many sounds are layered to create a slightly-ominous, atmospheric, instrumental masterpiece that would be fitting in the final moments of a dark thriller, perhaps. It’s a beautifully dark piece of music and I was excited to hear what else lay ahead.

Wulven’s latest release closes with the self-titled track “I Have Seen The End and It Is Beautiful,” which is a gorgeous acoustic track and perhaps the highlight on the album. The chord progression gives me goosebumps close to the ones I felt when I first listened to Radiohead for the first time. The haunting synths, along with scorching guitar, in the far distance contribute to the overall atmosphere of this heart-wrenching closer.

At its heart, however, what makes this closer so beautiful is the chord progression and the vocal melody in my opinion. Wulven’s acoustic guitar and singing are the two components that make this track so powerful. Fantastic songwriting as well as delivery. And there’s a cathartic final section to the song — explosive guitars, drums, and synths converge to create a ginormous finale. I for one cannot recommend this release enough. I think there’s a lot of people out there who will connect with this music in this day and age. Magnificent.

Garth Thomas