California post-black metal quartet Wild Hunt have landed a big sound on “Afterdream of the Reveller,” the title track to their just-announced second album. All of this began when Wild Hunt's guitar player Drew Cook unexpectedly passed away in April 2015 (his family has chosen to withhold the cause of death), on the morning that the band was about to embark on a two-week tour with Cormorant.
The remaining members dropped the tour and instead released Scroll and Urn, an EP they had recently completed and were originally planning on selling on the road. Because of what had happened, Scroll and Urn was released as a tribute to Drew in the days following his passing. It remains Cook's last recorded work.
In June 2015, as a way of coping and moving forward in the wake of Cook's death, Wild Hunt began work on their next record. "Nest of Flames," "Palingenesia" and "Choir of a Greater Sea" were originally written and performed with Cook and were now properly recorded for the first time, and one of Cook's remaining riffs made up the final section of "Odious Gamble."
Bassist West Lenz amicably left the band in June 2016 after having contributed riffs for "Odious Gamble" and having recorded parts for "Nest of Flames" and "Choir of a Greater Sea." This left drummer Harland Burkhart and guitarist Greg Brace to write and record the majority of the album by themselves.
They composed and tracked the songs piece by piece in their rehearsal space and over email, all while making no announcements about the state of the band--as far as most in the SF Bay Area scene knew, Wild Hunt had broken up when Cook passed away. Cook's death heavily informed the lyrical content of the record, though Afterdream of the Reveller isn't exactly a concept album.
The album contains themes of depression, descent into madness and mental purgatory, death and its impact on those close to the deceased. Those themes help form a loose narrative throughout the record, though the album ends on a hopeful and triumphant note (both musically and lyrically) with Palingenesia, a song that alludes to the ideas of resurrection and reincarnation.
In July 2016, Jamison Kester was recruited to fill the second guitar slot. He had shared the stage several times with Wild Hunt with his prior band Infinite Waste, and was one of the few guitar players in the bay area with the technical ability to play Wild Hunt's music.
As the band stepped into the mixing of Afterdream of the Reveller in December 2016, they contacted Avinash Mittur to help them overcome technical hurdles they had encountered. He had befriended Burkhart, Brace and Cook years prior as an intern at Trakworx Studio, whereScroll and Urn and the first Wild Hunt album Before the Plane of Angles were mastered.
Upon hearing of the vacant bass player position Mittur offered to try out for the band and the new lineup played its first show in May 2017, where much of the material from Afterdream was performed live for the first time. The four members of Wild Hunt's current lineup were all present at Cook's memorial in October 2015, and Kester and Mittur first met after the latter had written a tribute piece to Cook.
Greg Brace - guitar and vocals (Dispirit, ex-Dimesland) Harland Burkhart - drums and lead vocals (Dispirit, ex-Dimesland) Jamison Kester - guitar and vocals (Void Omnia, ex-Infinite Waste, ex-Apocryphon) Avinash Mittur – bass
1. At Once the Vision and the Seer
2. Odious Gamble
3. The Last Saeculum
4. Choir of a Greater Sea
6. Afterdream of the Reveller
7. Nest of Flames
RIYL: Void Omnia, Ash Borer, Wolves In The Throne Room, Addaura