The s/t debut from this Chet W. Scott project was a bleak and wonderfully (or should I say horrifically) realized effort of blackened Northwestern doom, drone, ambient, and a dash of folk. A breath of fresh air, regardless of how much carrion is carried on the scent.
A Feral Spirit is another meditative journey into the grim face of nature, as wholly American as it is disturbing. "Spell of the Elk" is an opening chant set to percussion and subtle ambient synths, with a few droning noises. "Crippling of Age" brings tortured black vocals, paced acoustic drums and a hypnotic wall of fuzzy distorted guitars. A terrifying track, yet it breaks for some scintillating guitars after the halfway point. "He Who Walked Away from the Fire & Laughed as He Bled" is a more psychedelic journey combining all the elements of the first two tracks. "Void" is a black cycle with some clever pipe organ segments dispersed within. "The Melancholy Article" is almost like a super minimal trip hop piece with flutes, horrid poetry and loads of atmosphere. "Unattainable Vistas of Our Remembrance" is a desolate, driven track with a great crescendo of sadly melodic guitars. "Forest of Decrepitude" and "Inter-Weaving the Beyond" are more typical of funeral doom/drone pieces, yet far more interesting than the majority of music in this sub-sub-genre. "Journey of the Plague Year" ends the album, just as hauntingly as it began.
In the end I enjoyed this more than the debut. While that was a pretty colossal effort, this feels slightly more fleshed out and I truly enjoyed the diversity within. It's a beautiful record from start to finish, a hypnotism that is guaranteed to steer your mind to places of longing, into the empty wilderness of both the physical and cerebral world. There is not much else out there like this, it's very much worth owning if you are a fan of any of its musical components. One of the most unique and entrancing 'metal' entities in the US today.
Verdict: Epic Win (9.5/10)