A re-release? From a 2015 original arrival date? What gives? Actually, I have very little idea, but given that this is the first chance I’ve had to listen to the album, it’s all good for me as it goes. Actually, it appears that the album was first recorded in 2014, in the none-more-doom location of erm…Sutton Coldfield, and produced by none other than Esoteric’s Greg Chandler.
Well, for whatever reason that the original has been re-released, with an additional three bonus tracks that add extra keyboards here, I’m glad that Minotauro records have seen fit do so. My Silent Wake have been in the doomy annals since 2005 it would appear, although I must confess that this is the first time that they’ve crossed my path. That may have to be rectified, because the gloomy chaps, hailing from North Somerset – not your typical haven of misery and despair, unless you’ve ever ventured into a Wetherspoon’s down there – play a particularly tasty brand of doom/death. Long-time readers of this wonderful publication will know that I have a particular predilection for doom/death, having sampled about 762927 eastern European bands who have played My Dying Bride Lite tracks with extra stabs of the Casio Rhumba-fill-in button. I’m even happier to report that while what My Silent Wake play is most assuredly doom/death in nature, it has an atmosphere and style all of its own that doesn’t seek to simply ape what has come before it.
The album has a host of different textures and themes, though it is fair to say that the overwhelming atmosphere of despair permeates through the whole platter like black mould on a bedsit wall. Huge, thick, crushing riffs that proceed with all the speed of a heavily sedated snail reverberate around the speakers, with each apparent bounce off the walls adding extra layers of sadness. This isn’t an album you’re going to be listening to in order to psych yourself for a mad night out on the town; on the contrary, this is the kind of work that you place on the stereo gram in order to contemplate where everything has gone wrong with your life. If all that sounds almost impossibly depressing, well, that’s because it is. A mainline to sonic misery injected to your soul via the medium of your ears.
Musically, this has everything the morbid listener could possibly want. Some great, traditional thick guitar and bass sounds, with some really inventive and spiky guitar (check out the dissonant sprawl of “Black Oil” for more details), with vocals that alternate between huge, ferocious roars and Stainthorpe-esque crooning. In terms of the drumming, well, they certainly do the trick. It’s hard to be a show boat as a tub thumper with a slow band, but when the tempo does start to break out, they’re excellently done. Production is really great too, with the clarity of a fist heading towards your face, and the hefty punch of having a heavyweight behind it. The three bonus version of the tracks with added keys actually do add a little to the songs, which were pretty good in the first place, and I assume this is where their more modern sound currently sits. I haven’t listened to their newest album, released this year, Invitation to Perfection yet, but on this evidence, I should think it’s pretty good.
A good, solid release that should rightly see the album get more air play, and hopefully more exposure in the UK scene.
(8/10 Chris Davison)