Written by Kep
Eremit – Wearer of Numerous Forms
> Doom/sludge metal
> Releasing June 6
> Fucking Kill Records
I’m already on the record as being a fan of long albums. The Mirror Reapers and Wanderers: Astrology of the Nines of the world are extremely my shit. I reviewed Orm’s 92-minute black metal opus last year and loved it. Honestly, sometimes the length itself is a draw for me to check something out: I’m curious if their material can fill out that much time. But everybody’s gotta have a limit, right? That’s right, we’re looking the elephant in the room dead in the eyes today and we’re going to have a conversation, because Wearer of Numerous Forms is well beyond two hours in length. Over 132 minutes across only three(!) tracks. That’s…that’s really fucking long (insert your best Michael Scott “that’s what she said” here).
(Note: the album is not yet listed on the band’s Bandcamp page, but will be added on release day. We’ll update this article with a link at that time.)
Now, far be it from me to judge Eremit negatively based on that fact alone. I was impressed by their previous album, 2021’s Bearer of Many Names—to the tune of an 8.5/10 back when we scored our reviews—and a sizable part of the reasoning for that was Eremit’s uncanny ability to squeeze every last drop from their riffs and motifs. Deceptively simple musical ideas stretched and pulled like taffy, taking a single crushing riff and making it last a quarter-hour: that was the brand on Bearer. And the brand remains strong here on Wearer as well, no question. The band milks well over five minutes out of the very first big riff on the record, and yeah, if you’re not into slow doomy shit then you’ll be out the door, but if you dig that style you’ll be in heaven.
But still, if you’re going to ask me to sit and listen to your album for as long as it would take me to watch goddamn One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you’d better bring the goods and then some. I need something special to keep me listening for that amount of time. And the Eremit boys do a damn good job of delivering the necessary material to make the listen worth it. Wearer of Numerous Forms, like Bearer of Many Names before it but to a far, far greater degree, is a piece of music that you have to commit to getting lost in. To live in it for a while. The album isn’t about moments; it’s about soundworlds and moods. It tests the listener, but allowing yourself to be enveloped by it is immensely rewarding.
The “opener” is 63-minute first track “Conflicting Aspects of Reality”, which would damn well stand on its own as a whole album. The bedrock of it is a handful of straightforward and distinct musical ideas which help to divide the piece into multiple large sections, and there’s more material per section here than there was on Bearer. The track’s opening consists of a noisy wall-of-sound passage that slips seamlessly into the first monster riff, a big thumping thing with six pounding hits on of the same pitch on six consecutive beats at its head. The song slows into funereal trudge and then dissolves around 16:00 into ominous meditation, marking the beginning of its next big section with a single guitar repeating a new riff: simple as can be, with four deliberate consecutive pulses of the same pitch at the front followed by a syncopated minor third that drops back to the opening pitch. Then the band commences 12+ minutes of dark, shadowy rumination with languid drums and a mysterious melody, eventually leading back to the crushing reappearance of that second main riff with the minor third. From that point (only halfway through, mind you) there’s an extended trip to funeral doom town—drum hits over two seconds apart!—some heavy riffy doom groove, and, finally, an ever-slowing approach to the end on that re-returning second main riff, grinding bit by bit to a halt over five(!) full minutes.
The sectional transitions always feel organic and seamless, with new themes growing out of the final notes or reverberant distortion of the last. There are moments when a section will begin with a returning riff and it’s done so smoothly that you won’t even notice it’s happened for several seconds. Eremit are also masters at delayed gratification, making you wait what feels like ages for the inevitable. For example, at the end of that extended section of mysterious calm in “Conflicting Aspects”, it’s abundantly clear that there’s something devastatingly heavy on the way when the drums drop away and leave only a single guitar playing the riff. But it’s not a single cycle through the riff and then the drop immediately after; no, that would be too easy. Instead it’s three cycles, and a couple extra seconds of anticipatory silence before all hell finally breaks loose again.
The album’s remaining tracks are more of the same, but in slightly more compact packages. “Entombed” is a downright brisk 21:27, featuring rollicking sludge grooves with some fun cymbal action contrasted against sections of towering doom heft. Final song “Passages of Poor Light” has much in common with “Conflicting Aspects”, albeit with an opening of atmospheric ambient effects and a much more sorrowful overall feel. Moritz Fabian’s vocals dip into funeral growl territory at times while climbing to anguished DSBM wails at others, and the more “active” riffs have greater melodicism to them, creating a sort of epic mournfulness. It’s in the quiet moments on this track that the band does some of their finest work, moving hypnotically through flowing colors with carefully-crafted chords and textures in a way reminiscent of Ahab. It’s like watching the sky on an overcast day, here and there moment of warm sunshine peering through and then being swallowed again by the soft yet suffocating darkness of endless clouds.
It’s worth noting again that Eremit accomplishes all this without a bass; both Fabian and Pascal Sommer play guitar, and drummer Marco Baecker rounds out the trio. The group recorded live, which really helps with that authentic feel. The amount of weight and depth in the sound is astonishing for an outfit without a four-string, though I will say that I think that producer Roland Wiegner went a bit too far on boosting the bottom end this time. On my good headphones and high-quality speakers it was very strong to almost overbearing, and I had to turn down the bass in my car to keep my teeth (and the car itself) from rattling. The band does so much with little touches and subtle alterations—soft glittering trills, quiet octave shifts, delicate cymbal touches, etc.—and that monstrous low end actively obscures some of it. The guest trumpet of Henrik Bredemann is a nice touch, though, distorted and blaring with a strange urgency like a klaxon.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So, is Wearer of Numerous Forms worth its lengthy runtime? Is it objectively good? The answer to both of these questions is yes, it absolutely is. It’s Eremit’s magnum opus, meticulously crafted with a wealth of details to discover and appreciate. Realistically, though, your mileage will vary a lot based on your attention span and how willing you are to accept their soundworld as your new home. Trust me, though: if you give this album your time and attention, it will reward you richly.