Review: Wyatt E. ‘āl bēlūti dārû’

Reviewing Wyatt E.’s sophomore album āl bēlūti dārû was a unique and fulfilling experience. History is something that has always fascinated me. I tend to focus more on the recent history of the 1900s, but Wyatt E. took me back to the BC era. 588 BC to be exact. The setting is Jerusalem, and King Nebuchadnezzar II besieged the great city.

Wyatt E. 'āl bēlūti dārû'

I loaded up the first track titled Mušḫuššu, pressed play, and let the music ring out while I scoured the internet for information of this particular time in history. It’s a time I was very unfamiliar with and was on a mission to soak up all the knowledge I could. The ancient sounds echoing through the air as I read helped transport me to that time. The underlying heaviness and drones I’ve grown to love are still present and build the tension throughout the song.

A variety of interesting instruments are used to create Eastern European sounds reminiscent of an ancient era. A chilling moment occurs at the five-minute mark introducing saxophone as the tension rises. Halfway through, the tension subsides for a brief time and the calming music is most welcoming. It all begins to build again for an epic conclusion that I was not necessarily expecting. The tremolo picking guitars playing over the thundering drums are an astounding surprise. I am heavily into the post-rock, post-metal world right now and this climatic portion is right up my alley.

As the intense music fades into a more traditional acoustic ending, I learned that Mušḫuššu is an ancient symbol of the Neo-Babylonian era. It’s a mythical hybrid animal that most famously is on the Ishtar Gate. The gates immense size and bright blue and gold colors showcased the power which King Nebuchadnezzar II held. The music created fits the energy of the time perfectly.

Wyatt E. lifts you right out of the very seat you’re in and takes you to a different time and place with the power of music…

Šarru Rabu or The Great King fills side B and is a force to be reckoned with. The traditional acoustic ending is picked back up at the start of the final song but ends as quickly as it begins. A moment of silence is taken before the music resumes. The post-rock influences emerge again with the clean reverb-ridden guitars over a tense drone. The king is putting his plan into motion as the armies prepare for battle. The simple yet effective drumbeat keep the swirling atmosphere of music heading forward. The drums become more complicated as the armies mobilize and get closer to their destination. Wyatt E. are incredible at adding and removing layers of music to keep enough tension at any given moment before the inevitable climax.

Thirteen minutes in we reach that very climax where the Babylonian armies have reached Jerusalem and are wreaking havoc. The chaos fades fast and the war is over. Jerusalem has been conquered and the remaining three minutes of haunting music play out as the dust settles on the battlefield and the destruction of the city is realized.

Wyatt E. lifts you right out of the very seat you’re in and takes you to a different time and place with the power of music, and they say time travel isn’t possible. On March 18th, 2022, get ready to travel in time and experience Babylon like you have never have before. Now re-read that last line with your best impression of the guy who voices the movie trailers!

Label: Stolen Body Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider