White Ward – Love Exchange Failure

4 min read

Band: White Ward
Title: Love Exchange Failure
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release date: 20 September 2019
Country: Ukraine
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

Loved WHITE WARD immediately when I heard their debut full-length album “Futility Report” (2017) when it was just released. The combination of black metal with a saxophone is a unique one. I was completely overwhelmed by it. Not every day you could listen to something like this. Naturally “Futility Report” was part of my Top 50 AOTY list for 2017. The Ukrainians simply became one of the most interesting acts on the black metal scene.

So when the new track off “Love Exchange Failure”, carrying the same name as the album, was announced in the end of July, I was stoked. I was euphoric when I listened to it. The above-mentioned combination of sax and black metal has grown, has been further developed, has been turned into something more beautiful, it’s been jazzed. The track begins as a music in a night club with piano and sax, exploding into black metal twists and turn with angry grim vocals, in order to pass through various metamorphoses between the jazz sax fatality and lonely piano, breakdowns and calmer parts up to the blast beats and tremolos of the typical black metal genre. WOW! I thought that “Love Exchange Failure” will offer further experiences and it will be huge.

I wasn’t mistaken. When I got the promo, I dived into night loneliness of the empty streets. I felt as I wandering soul without shelter, lost in the millions of night lights of the big city, feeling cold, abandoned and betrayed by love and life, so lonely.

“Poisonous Flowers of Violence” begins again jazzy and continues with some awesome riffs and tremolos. It is angrier than the opener, more progressive, much more into the alley of post-black metal. Then comes “Dead Heart Confession” piling up the internal pressure and emotions, with ripping through sax over riffs and solemn drums, converting into blasts and unique tremolo. I felt I was losing myself again, drowning into the madness of the lonely nights…just to fall deeper into the madness of the dissonant saxophone over atmo breakdown. Then it all starts again…twisting and turning, like a sweet pain forever running after you, as a knife stabbed in the back by your beloved one, like throwing yourself from euphoria to manic depression and back.  “Shelter” is the shortest track, featuring whispers over a piano and a cutting-through guitar turning into ordered jazzy dark psychedelia.

“No Cure For The Pain” is my favorite track off “Love Exchange Failure”. Begins with this sax-for-sex rhythm, night blurry visions, big city lights, and narrowed eyes by the drinks and the haunting memories. Then it goes to a lonely crescendo, pain roars, the guitars cry into a great solo, blast beats, tremolos, breakdowns. The track ends as it begins, soothing the pain, turning it into a greater pain…

“Surfaces and Depths” continues what “No Cure for the Pain” started to do with my emotions. It is an absolutely ambient, jazzy, fuzzy track of piano, bass, rhythm, sax, and clean female vox. Absolute beauty, drawing emotions, fatality, dreams of endless horizons ending into lonely broken dreams. Leaving enormous emptiness…So gorgeous track, so not typical to listen into black/post-black album. However, White Ward overcome all the boundaries, offering something exquisite, something extraordinary, something emotional. And very personal.

“Uncanny Delusions” is the natural ending of all this delusional journey. With its clean lonely beginning, the track converts into black metal progressive chaos with many faces. The changes within the track are so many and the music goes through so many variations, that it was difficult for me to describe all the mood, all the colors which this track carries. What I can say though – it is just deep, emotional and impactful.

Same goes for the entire album. So much variety, so much loneliness, emptiness,  so many moods, twists, and turns. It is black, post-black, jazz, progressive. So NOIR. So personal, so emotional. Go home, be alone, after sunset, at dusk. Have a glass of your favorite whiskey in your hand. Put “Love Exchange Failure” on. Sit down on the couch and relax. Let it all carry you away. Far away. Only you, your lonely broken dreams and the music. 10/10 Count Vlad.


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