Following on from Ian Arkley’s guest guitar on Pÿlon’s ‘The Harrowing Of Hell’, there is the new My Silent Wake & Pÿlon split album, ‘Empyrean Rose’ (2013). My Silent Wake are from the UK and specialise in gothic doom and have released ‘Shadow Of Sorrow’ (2006), The Anatomy Of Melancholy’ (2007), ‘A Garland Of Tears’ (2008), ‘IV Et Lux Perpetua’ (2010) and ‘Silver Under Midnight’ (2013). Pÿlon are a christian doom outfit from Switzerland and their recent releases have been ‘Th’ Eternal Wedding Band’ (2006), ‘Doom’ (2009), ‘Armoury Of God’ (2011) and ‘The Harrowing Of Hell’ (2012).
This MSW line-up was Ian Arkley (guitar & vocals), Addam Westlake (bass), Rich Alden (guitar) and Mark Henry (drums). Steve Allen also played drums on one of the songs. Rather than sticking to their usual style, they have chosen instead a variety of styles that includes acoustic, experimental and metal songs with instrumentation including mandolin, flute, percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, keys and vocals as well as sound effects recorded near to the recording studio in Somerset, UK.
Starting with a gently plucked guitar, there is a short instrumental in ‘Tower Walk’. Having been taken aback by this subtlety, they lead on with a hushed gothic intro to ‘Tearing Worlds Apart’. But it’s not long before the searing guitar riffs pull this asunder. “Do you want to face me still / Search a ruined heart / The process has begun / Tearing worlds apart”. There is a mixture of dark doom with lighter interspection (and choral vocals), but also containing some technical thrash piercing the gloom. ‘Mirrored’ is another medieval folk interlude.
Then its time for the progressive ‘NDE Part 2’ which pushes through the 13 minute barrier. This has a restrained melancholy that is overcome by hard riffing and harshly barked vocals. “No more sorrow here / Bright celestial guide / Flowing warmth and beauty / Leading me inside / Gathered in this place / I can see them all / Once I knew them well / Lost familiar forms”. There are several changes in pace, including a section of hushed vocals, and has a flute competing against the razor-sharp guitar. Their final offering is the ambient instrumental ‘Welcome To The Village’ with extended church bell peals and birdsong.
Pÿlon has a more traditional approach to doom. Instead of starting with a new track, they have chosen to re-record their classic 2009 track as ‘Doomstone 2013’ with Jordan Cutajar (Nomad Son) on vocals. You would think that this song had been written with him in mind, as his powerful range perfectly completes this reflection as death draws near. “Lay me low, set a tombstone on my head / Just let me go, with a rock in time to shield my bed”. The band has previously covered Black Sabbath, but here they take on Candlemass with ‘Droid’ seeing guitarist Matt Brand taking over on vocals. The pace slows to a leaden crawl for ‘Falling Into The Sun’. This is a remixed version with Tinu Christen’s gravelly vocals (the original version is on ‘Th’ Eternal Wedding Band’)
Now it’s time for the newly fermented, sludgy doom of ‘By Loving Forces’. Here Matt Brand returns with disembodied vocals taking inspiration from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “By loving forces wonderfully sheltered, we are awaiting fearlessly what comes / God is with us at dusk and in the morning, and most assuredly on every day”. This ebbs and flows effortlessly throughout and leads into ‘Golden Voice’. This is a journey with “Here a proud seraph sang / His golden voice thus rang / I saw you in hell / I saw you in heaven / I’ll guide you through hell / I’ll guide you to heaven”. Finally, there is a reflective instrumental ‘Post Tenebras Lux’.
As this is a split album, it makes it particularly tricky to give an overall rating. The production quality is excellent and it showcases what both bands have to offer.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
My Silent Wake Tracks:
1. Tower Walk
2. Tearing Worlds Apart
4. NDE part 2
5. Welcome To The Village
6. Doomstone 2013 [with Jordan Cutajar on vocals]
7. Droid [Candlemass Cover]
8. By Loving Forces [Unreleased Track]
9. Falling In To The Sun [2013 Remix]
10. Golden Voice [2013 Remix featuring Matt Brand on Vocals]
11. Post Tenebras Lux [Unreleased Track]
My Silent Wake:
Marc Ellison (acoustic tracks)
Doomstone (2013 re-recording): Jordan Cutajar: vocals; Matt Brand: guitar; Jan Thomas: bass; Andrea J.C. Tinner: drums
Droid: Matt Brand: vocals & guitar; Jan Thomas: bass; Andrea J.C. Tinner: drums
Falling Into The Sun (2013 remix): Tinu Christen: vocals & drums; Jan Thomas: bass & growls; Matt Brand: guitar
By Loving Forces: Matt Brand: vocals, guitar & bass; Andrea J.C. Tinner: drums; Vale Baumgartner: guitar solo
Golden Voice: Matt Brand: vocals & guitar; Jan Thomas: bass & keys; Andrea J.C. Tinner: drums; Vale Baumgartner: guitar solo
Post Tenebras Lux: Matt Brand: guitar
Record Label: Quam Libet Records/Roxx Records, Nov. 2013