It’s always good to be reminded that my reputation amongst my less musically anal retentive friends for having an encyclopaedic knowledge of metal is not really deserved. Case in point being doom band My Silent Wake, as to the best of my knowledge despite more than ten years of existence I’ve never come across them before. All good, as it means they come with no baggage and also I benefit from a good ego puncturing is needed every now and then. I’m guessing their ‘normal’ output is of the gothic/doom-death variety doom from this but I may be wrong.
You see this is not their metal side. This is, according to the PR blurb, a combination of their acoustic and dark ambient digressions which they like to follow now and then. Which of course it isn’t, but I can’t hold the band responsible for that.
What we have here is a rich and effortlessly fluid sound, a fine production providing the plain music with the right depth of water to float and ride upon. By plain I mean no insult; far from it. This is a semi-acoustic piece which for the most part would fit comfortably alongside such bands as neo-classical Amber Asylum (was it twenty years ago I first heard Frozen In Amber?), Arcana (nearly a quarter of a century ago that I first heard them..) and Aeon period Dead Can Dance too (ok, ok, I’m bloody ancient, I get it.). Melancholic, evocative, pseudo medieval instrumental on the whole. Strings and woodwind, rhythmic percussion, clean and fine vocals on occasion. Presented without fuss or pretension, allowing the music to flow over you and warm you it is at its best a calm, insular and beautiful piece.
There are less successful aspects for me, though. There are one or two passages which I suppose might be described as ambient, synth based, elements and at least one which appears to have some field recording based elements. The thing is for me they jar a little, they interrupt the sylvan sounds of the medieval styled reveries rather than provide paths between. Nor do they work like, say, some darker shadow stalking the idyllic central theme (something which for example From The Bogs Of Augishka have done with a real sinister and primal touch). I’m sure for others this will be a minor thing, and it certainly doesn’t ruin the experience. It’s simply that instead of being gently led or allowed to drift from one glade to the next I am awoken and moved on.
So there we are. Now the blurb mentions ‘for fans of… ‘ and names Arcana which is a nice pointer. But then adds in Cities Last Broadcast and Lustmord. Hmm. Damned if I can find a hint of them anywhere here, and I was listening to The Cancelled Earth when the review list came in and Heresy the day before. So don’t come here looking for that kind of bleak or terrifying dark ambience.
But if neo-classical, medieval sounds and meditations are your thing, this is well worth it. Light, delicate, intoxicating and thoughtful. Genuinely intelligent music.