At the turn of the latest century, two individuals came together to share common ideas regarding their mutual expeditions to ancient natural monuments, many of which held secrets long ago forgotten. From this fusion emerged a musical progression called Wanderer (based in the Ukraine) and its first conception, which is titled Bypassing the Abyss.

Originally released in 2004 by Magik Art, the album once again stains the ears of the chosen few, thanks to Dunkelheit Produktionen. This time out, the noticeable flaws of the original master are gone, as great care has been taken to repair, restore, and remaster the recording.

Bypassing the Abyss reeks of occult black metal. Instrumentalist Dragonheart (Lych Gate and Tangorodream) crafts sounds that haunt and concurrently create intense feelings of aggression. His percussion is hideous, setting a breakneck speed that is complemented by his sardonic bass licks and noise-laden guitar riffs. Countering the noise are subtle keyboard drones, as well as the lead shrieks of Mysterion (Mysterion Noctum), who is also responsible for the lyrics and the CD’s artwork.

The compositions are purposely straightforward, with the guitars in particular coming off as raw, almost uncontrolled. This primitive approach gets even more barbaric with Mysterion’s screeches, which range from a mid-range guttural spew that erupts into high-end shrieks. Underneath this primeval approach, Wanderer have carefully structured songs that have an epic quality to them. As with the best black metal, each song is more than the sum of its parts, and so it is here. Lead guitars bring with them a sense of harmony, blast beats are countered with measured rolls and fills, and keyboards inject a sense of harmony and mystery into every song.

Interestingly, some of Mysterion’s vocals were recorded in the woods and caves of Slavyanogorsk in the Ukraine in an attempt to capture the sound of natural compression in natural wood and distinct reverberations heard in cave formations. This exploration of sound is further punctuated in Mysterion’s lyrics, which concern the mysteries of nature and the perfection of the space towering above humanity (both individual and society) that transcends self-indulgence and materialism.

This pristine re-release of Bypassing the Abyss comes as a digipack with a 12-page booklet that include Mysterion’s original photographs/art editing to enhance the experience. If you’ve ever admired the intensity of nature that can be found simply by listening to the sounds of the forest or staring at the formations inside a cavern, then Bypassing the Abyss will tap into an inner you very few others can ever hope to understand.