Monday, April 5, 2010

My Silent Wake & The Drowning - Black Light and Silent Roads

The elements of doomy goodness are presented here for our mutual edification. This split album of My Silent Wake and The Drowning presented by Retroactive/Bombworks records is an amalgam of the ethereal and the material. Black Lights & Silent Roads is the title of this rather heavy piece of musical fancy.

What we have is four songs by each group entity that sound like being lost in the forest on a dark and dreary night. No lights no moon no path before you but perhaps a steep cliff. Waiting for a coachman to rescue you and carry you to a nearby castle but none are in sight.

Not having heard either group before I must admit that my fondness for the My Silent Wake material is more embedded as opposed to The Drowning. However both groups have a penchant for composing moody and haunting melodies with enough dynamics to make one truly wonder if someone is looking over their shoulder. I would not advise listening to this material alone as it just seems to settle into a rather melancholy place and keeps the listener there.

Powerful guitars highlight my favorite songs; My Silent Wake’s “Bleak Endless Winter” sounds just like the title indicates. Bleak indeed, but enough authority in the guitar department to make you take notice; as the guitars complement the strength of Ian’s vocal. Magnificent. It would completely improper to not mention the twenty two minute epic ‘Rebirth.’

This falls into the category of epic, My Silent Wake have produced one long bit of whimsy that moves and sways like a stormy winter evening with the rain and wind to make you wonder if the power should fail what would you do. ‘Rebirth’ moves slowly building with different percussion and sounds that bring this creative effort to an emotional peak. Vocally ranging from extreme to the melancholic. If the name My Silent Wake is to make reference to the dying inside that we all live through daily, then it stands to reason that their songs are an outward expression of the pain and grief we often hold within.

The Drowning bring their own style of melancholy to the forefront, reminiscent of a funeral procession among horse drawn carriages. The long walk to the graveyard never had quite the accompaniment that The Drowning brings. Slow and heavy, more emphasis on the HEAVY part I believe. The songs are good, however I find my imagination returning to the My Silent Wake material. “Silent Epiphany” is my favorite performance from this side of the disc.

It might be because this is the most upbeat song on the album I’m not sure. Extreme vocals pretty much dominate The Drowning performances but that is their style. At times it doesn’t make room for the mellower dynamics that might add more punch to their songs.

So you might ask what does Black Lights & silent roads sound like really. The production is solid and deep. To describe the style of say My Silent Wake the band says this.

“Doom/death metal with Goth, mediaeval, folk, black, progressive and experimental elements. Our music generally appeals to fans of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Agalloch, Katatonia, Anathema etc...Make up your own mind.” MSW MySpace.

The members of The Drowning had this to say….

"The Drowning are not just a general Metal based band, with the members all having there own influences, the bands inspiration has come from the darker ambient side of music with the likes of the above bands influence being heard in many of the The Drowning's songs.

The band have also incorporated the use of acoustic guitars and keyboard effects to create the darker edged atmosphere in most of The Drowning's tracks... which makes them hard to compare with bands from the same genre.

The heavier side of The Drowning comes from many of the Dark, Death, Black Metal band genres past and present which have a strong influence on many of the band members.” The Drowning MySpace.

This album is like the In Grief album I reviewed sometime ago. There’s enough on the surface to keep you interested but as you continue to listen the depth and insight of the recording makes itself known. These metal composers have put together a tapestry of fine euphonic thought that is not the norm. If melancholy is your thing than obtain Black Lights & Silent Roads quickly as this might be one of those gems that gets lost in the shuffle.

7 axes

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