Apparently this Oakland based trio take their moniker from a 1922 fantasy novel by Eric Rucker Eddison. Give it a look on the web if Norse style high fantasy is your thang. With that in mind the listener may be expecting dragons to be chased and swashes to be buckled. Nope. This is a far more sedate affair. Far………far ……….far………………………………more s…e….d….a……….t………e. (get the picture?)
Six tracks in total lasting 63 mins this is no Reign In Blood. I almost feel ridiculous reviewing this, so dependent on the listener’s mood is the music. Lorraine Rath (bass /vox) Jessica Way (guitar/vox) and Aesop Dekker (drums) craft sombre, ethereal deathly passages of music held together by gothic hypnotic basslines and flange driven guitars. The twin vocals coil around each other like velvet serpents whilst Dekker provides the falling heartbeat.
“Day” which opens has moments of Nick Cave fused with Diamanda Galas on Mogadon. Whispers are pierced by an angelic voice with a western twang drifting lazily in like Carl Mcoy’s drifter in Hardware. “Broken Movements” brings to mind ambient soundtracks by S U R V I V E and Steve Moore with the synths replaced by female vocals. It builds into a doomy affair complete with crashes and splashes. “Suffering Tree” that follows is almost a continuation so similar is it.
“Ribbon of Shadow” and ” (Was it) The Cruelst Thing” (sic) continue the theme. I thought Faith by the Cure was the most depressive album outside of the heady world of Funeral Doom and DSBM but this certainly runs it close. The combination on the latter track, of throbbing bass and gothic guitar fare makes my old crimped hair twitch like a ghost limb that was lost to the barbers bin so many years before (little Cure ref there ) .
As in the real world “Night” follows “Day” albeit with 4 tracks in between and Worm Ourboros bid the listener bon nuit with a near 11 minute opus.
This is music to drift away to. The melodies pick the listener up and transport you across the clouds. Unlike other ethereal and shoegaze popsters it is unclear whether your destination will be a pleasant one or like the sirens of old these glorious women will lure you to a ragged death.
If you pick up this release I am sure you will find the right occasion to slip it on and slip into its warm comforting embrace. I don’t suggest whilst driving or making love though.
(6.5/10 Matt Mason)