Review from Musipedia of Metal

Posted by Nick Skog on Saturday, September 7, 2019 Under: English
From: Musipedia of Metal
Published: September 5, 2019

Wills Dissolve are a 4 piece based in Houston, Texas. The band, who formed in 2015 features Nick Block and Andrew Carvana on Guitar and Vocals both formerly from the band Act Of War, who are joined by Branson Heinz on Drums and and Shaun Weller on Bass and Vocals. The band play a very interesting style of progressive extreme metal. It’s mainly progressive death metal, but there are elements of Black and Pagan metal in their sound as well. So, progressive extremity then, but in many ways this band are unique, so trying to push them into genre boundaries seems a little pointless. There are similarities with bands like Opeth (metal era), Enslaved (progressive era), Ihsahn, Rivers Of Nihil, or last years excellent album by Chapel Of Disease, but don’t take that as meaning they sound like any of those bands. 

The similarity is in how the bands mix different styles and allow the music to take them where the music needs to go, and aren’t constrained by genre conventions. Although I’ve mentioned those other bands Wills Dissolve are also totally original and not in any way derivative. The Heavens Are Not On Fire tells the story of the 1833 Leonid Meteor shower, which was erroneously interpreted by American Christians as the beginning of the Biblical Apocalypse. This miss-interpretation was also a tipping point between older, more credulous interpretations of stellar occurrences, and modern astronomy. The band have described the album as being a ‘Meditation On Religion, Violence and Cosmic Chaos’. It is a reissue of their debut album released last year, this time on Hypnotic Dirge records in preparation for a new album coming soon.

Structurally this is a very interesting album. The album contains 5 tracks, 4 very long songs and a 3 minute piano, clean guitar and bass instrumental. The titles of the tracks (and album), form a sentence that describes the subject matter of the album. So, it goes like this: The Heavens Are Not On Fire (track 1), So Do Not Mistake These Ashes (track 2), For Signs From On High (track 3), On This Cold November Night (track 4), 11-13-1833 (track 5). Tracks 1 - 4 all come in at a little over or under 10 minutes, they also seem to merge together, so the last riff of one song becomes the first riff of the next track. This makes the album feel like one huge, nearly fifty minute track, I would be fascinated to learn if they wrote the album as one long song, and then split it into individual songs, or if it was written as 5 separate tracks. 

As I’ve mentioned before the music isn’t really one specific style. The album opens very slowly, with individual tones slowly fading in, in a manner that is very reminiscent to Pink Floyd. Military style drums crash in, announcing a 6:8 riff, that reminds me a little of Primordial. The song speeds up, and harsh death metal style vocals blasts in feeling heavy and expansive. After this, the track changes direction and goes into a clean, folky section with amazingly good clean vocals, with some very impressive vocal melodies. This section, although folky in style, has a little jazz in its sensibilities. After a beautiful clean section the track gets heavy again, but this time it's more extreme, faster with more blast beats, but still melodic and tuneful. This feels huge and heavy, and gets more extreme as the song nears the end, but with an underlying tunefulness that is fantastically melodious. 

That's the first track, I could go on describing each track, but this already overlong review would become ridiculous. The other 3 long songs have a similar structure in the sense that each track is multifaceted, constantly changing piece of genius. In the other tracks there are elements of Black metal, in that there are some tremolo picked riffs (some of which are insanely beautiful and melodic), there are huge doom riffs, melodically amazing folk sections, driving death metal riffs that pound you into the ground, and some of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in a long time. What Wills Dissolve also have, is one of the best vocalists in metal. 3 of the members of Wills Dissolve are credited as vocalists; but I haven’t been able to find out who does which voice. The harsh voice is great, very good death metal vocals, but the clean voice is stunning, genuinely one of the best clean voices I’ve heard in extreme metal. The vocal melodies are amazing, they are great on the clean parts, but when the band mix heavy music with clean vocals, my god, it just soars. 

The Heavens Are Not On Fire is a staggering album. It’s incredibly diverse in its influences, each track constantly changes, but all the transitions between disparate elements are seamless and so well realised you forget this is a the bands first album. This album has so many massive melodies that get stuck in your head, I’ve been humming this album pretty much nonstop since I got it. The Heavens Are Not On Fire is an astonishing, confounding, remarkable piece of work. It’s going to be a definite contender for my favourite album this year, I have a feeling it will be at the top of a lot of other End Of Year Lists as well. Do yourself a favour and get your hands on this album, it’s spectacular!

Rating: 9/10
Reviewed by: Matt Bladen

In : English 

Tags: "wills dissolve" "wills dissolve the heavens are not on fire" "the heavens are not on fire" "progressive death metal" "post black metal" "blackened death metal" 

 Released:  July 29, 2019
Genre: Progressive Blackened Death Metal