Released: 2012, Dunkelheit Produktionen
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
When originally released back in 2005, this second album from the mysterious Russian project known as Wanderer … first of all, the recordings nearly weren’t completed on time, as vocalist Mysterion suffered major health problems which forced him to finish his contribution both under the influence of copious quantities of alcohol and in a cave in the Ukraine!! Then, the original master CD was damaged in transit, resulting in the final product having a series of irksome clicks throughout – and, as if all that wasn’t enough, the original label, Magik Arts, went bust immediately after the album was released.
Seven years later, what is widely regarded as a true forgotten gem of the eastern European extreme metal scene, thought lost in the ethers of time, has now been unearthed and has been given a lavish reissue and reworking designed to correct some of the faults which conspired not to give it a wider audience first time around.
The result is a worthy but ultimately flawed piece of metal archaeology. The main faults are the production, which is erratic and often impenetrable in its muddiness, which in turn affects primarily the vocals – which do sound, at moments, like they were recorded in a cave, but one several miles from studio – and more especially the bass and guitars, which are often completely lost in the mix.
Which is a real pity, as there are some real gems here, such as the potentially epic ‘Shades Of Destiny’, the swirling punkiness of ‘Sacrifice To The Ritual Fire’ or the otherwise impressive ‘Leaving The Abyss’ - especially the latter with its doomier grind and attempted keyboard atmospherics – but unfortunately they are buried in the quagmire of the production, which serves to leave the listener with the feeling that this is an unfinished demo rather than a full-blown sophomore band from confident in their abilities.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to bypass this particular abyss without exploring its darkened depths further. Just watch you don’t step on an empty vodka bottle.
Review by Mark Ashby