Review: Whalesong — “Gateway”

There are times when I stumble onto recordings that contain certain elements borrowed from my favorite musicians, all packaged in a cohesive whole. The latest EP from a Polish industrial metal band Whalesong is an example of just that.


The first side of the EP starts off with huge chunks of percussive metal clamor that are very primal in their core. Think early Swans or Godflesh, where each single hit drills into your subconsciousness. Monotone voice chants correspond with the percussive force and the paranoid synths in desensitizing the listener completely.

“I am not/I am not this” is repeated over and over before a monolithic guitar drone, akin to Sunn 0))) or Earth melts the recording into a sustained sludge. The title track ends with thin, metallic screeching over the drone accompaniment.

Whalesong by Marcin Pawłowski
photo: Marcin Pawłowski

The second side contains another lengthy composition entitled “I am Not Here”. I can hear some Swans undertones on this one as well. However, this isn’t the aggressive 80s but closer to the soundscapes of their 90s releases. A lo-fi mix of what I could describe as “mallet-driven piano stutters”, a wind instrument that goes bonkers and constant picking of these slightly off-tune guitar strings turns out to be a fantastic match.

The track’s hypnotic drive is supported by a muffled vocal section somewhere in the background. I think this particular track would benefit from an additional gradual build-up that just never seems to arrive. The vocals would also benefit from being a bit more in line with the instrumental counterpart.

Whalesong by Marcin Pawłowski
photo: Marcin Pawłowski

Regardless of the minor criticisms, I really liked where Whalesong took these sound elements. It’s an engaging exploration that I would recommend to fans of the listed-above bands. Just check out this atmospheric release.

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